Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Reporter
AT LEAST nine Cowdray Park properties at various levels of development, are set to be demolished while eight allocated stands are going to be cancelled as the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) works towards addressing the problem of recurring flooding in parts of the suburb.
A breakdown of the figures in affected suburbs availed to Sunday News showed that Cowdray Park has the highest number with 429 houses and 88 stands facing possible displacement as they were constructed on wetland areas.
According to the latest council report nine properties, at various levels of development — with two complete houses and the rest being on slab level — will be demolished and relocated as the local authority intends to construct a proposed storm water drainage that would help alleviate flooding in the area. Eight stands, which are vacant have also been relocated.
“The Council of 1 June 2022 resolved that beneficiaries of stand numbers 18666, 18667, 18668, 18712, 18853, 18852, 20143, 20144, 20145, 20113 20074, 20060, 20061, 20062, 20063, 19837 and 19807 to be relocated to allow for the construction of the proposed storm water drainage that would help alleviate flooding in the area.
“The inter-departmental committee comprising of Engineering, Housing and Town Planning department would carry out detailed assessment of the affected properties and compiled a report for submission in the next Environmental Committee meeting,” reads the report.
Of all the 17 properties set to be relocated only two have since been reallocated with new stands with the local authority saying while they have reached an agreement with the property owners, they are yet to reallocate them.
Meanwhile, the local authority has had to relocate 59 stands it had allocated to Aggregate Properties in Emganwini after it emerged that an illegal mine was operating in the area. Aggregate Properties was initially servicing stands in Cowdray Park when it was discovered that 59 of the stands were located in a rocky area and hence no developments could take place, which led to the local authority then deciding to allocate the property developer with 59 stands located in Emganwini for servicing.
“In the process of title surveying of the stands, it emerged that there was an illegal mining operation on the site and it was affecting the above-mentioned stands. The illegal mine operator had since been engaged and advised to stop all operations on the municipal land. However, as the illegal mining matter was being addressed, it had been recommended that the developer be moved to stands that were not affected by the mining operations so that the company was able to move on-site and start servicing. Another set of 59 residential stands had since been identified to replace those affected by the mining operation,” reads part of the council report.
A couple of years ago it was reported that 500 houses in different suburbs of Bulawayo face possible displacement as they were prone to floods following heavy and incessant rains that were received.