THE PROPOSED EXTENSION OF THE BLACK RIVER CANAL CULVERT FOR ROAD WIDENING ALONG IMAM HARON ROAD, CAPE TOWN
The Information Sheet is a summary of the Basic Assessment Report and is available at the hyperlink.
The City of Cape Town, the proponent, wishes to implement an Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system across Cape Town. The aim of this public transport network is to provide a safe, reliable, accessible, affordable, and sustainable transport system within Cape Town. The ‘MyCiTi’ Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) forms part of the IRT system.
The Basic Assessment Report (BAR) forms part of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process being undertaken for the proposed extension of the Black River Canal culvert along Imam Haron Road, Cape Town, required for the ‘MyCiTi’ Bus Rapid Transit system to be implemented. This EIA focuses primarily on the portion of the road which involves environmental resources of potential sensitivity, namely impacting the Black River below Imam Haron Road.
The proposed route along Imam Haron Road necessitates the existing roadway be widened to make spatial provision for additional lanes, including BRT lanes. This widening requires the extension of the Black River Canal culvert. The basic assessment process assesses only the impacts associated with the proposed extension of the Black River Canal culvert crossing Imam Haron Road at Oakfield Road intersection. All issues relating to the infilling or depositing of any material greater than 10 cubic metres into the Black River Canal are identified and assessed. It should be noted that the scope of this basic environmental assessment, which relates only to Activity 19 of Listing Notice (GN No. R. 983 of 2014) according to the National Environmental Management Act (107 of 1998), as amended, is at the Black River Canal culvert.
The 2014 NEMA Environmental Impact Assessment of 2014, as amended and EIA Regulations (2014), as amended, require that reasonable alternatives to the proposed activity be identified and assessed. The proposed activity entails the infilling or depositing of any material greater than 10 cubic metres into the Black River Canal due to the extension of the existing culvert below Imam Haron Road.
Layout Alternative 1 (Preferred Alternative):
In Layout Alternative 1, the proposed widening at the Black River culvert located at Oakfield Road intersection is set to be widened by nine metres. The widening will take place along the eastbound carriageway from the existing pedestrian walkway. The cross-section of Layout Alternative 1 consists of one general traffic lane, right turning lane and non-motorised facilities per direction. Included is a uni-directional bus lane, in the westbound direction, from the Claremont Boulevard to Loch Road and a bi-directional bus lane from Loch Road and M5 interchange.
Layout Alternative 2:
In Layout Alternative 2, the proposed widening at the Black River culvert located at Oakfield Road is set to be widened by 12 metres. The widening will take place along the eastbound carriageway from the existing pedestrian pathway. The proposed cross-section of Layout Alternative 2 consists of a dedicated bus lane, one general traffic lane, a right turning lane and non-motorised facilities per direction.
Layout Alternative 3 (No-Go Alternative):
Alternative 3 is the no-go alternative whereby the road will not be upgraded and remain as is. This does not allow the IRT public transport system to be implemented along this section of the road.
The existing culvert which channels the Black River Canal beneath Imam Haron Road would need to extend by at least nine metres to allow for the proposed activity. This triggers a basic Environmental Impact Assessment to be undertaken, in terms of the National Environmental Act: Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (2014), as amended:
Activity 19 of Listing Notice 1 (GN No. R. 983 of 2014), as amended, reads as follows:
“The infilling or depositing of any material of more than 10 cubic metres into, or the dredging, excavation, removal or moving of soil, sand, shells, shell grit, pebbles or rock of more than 10 cubic metres from a watercourse.”
The infilling of the watercourse also triggers Section 21 (c) and (i) of the National Water Act (36 of 1998). Confirmation from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has been received stipulating that no Water Use Authorisation is needed for the proposed culvert extension of the Black River.
POTENTIAL IMPACTS IDENTIFIED
Listed below are the impacts identified and assessed in the BAR for the proposed extension of the Black River Canal culvert along Imam Haron Road, Cape Town:
DESIGN AND PLANNING
- Impact of the culvert extension along the Black River Canal
- Potential encroachment on private property and businesses
- Implementation of a more reliable and safer public transport system.
- Reduced traffic congestion due to dedicated lanes
- Changes in water quality
- Removal of trees and vegetation from the top of the banks along the length of the canal
- Waste generation
Socio-economic impacts (temporary impacts)
- Congestion due to construction vehicles
- Visual Impact
- Temporary Employment creation
- Construction-related noise and vibration
- Dust generation due to construction activities
- Water course function and condition
- Improved public transport network, reduced travelling time
- Reduced likelihood of bus accidents due to dedicated BRT lanes
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on the findings of the above-summarised impact assessment, Layout Alternative 1 has been identified as the preferred alternative. Of the two alternatives, the shorter extension (Layout Alternative 1) is preferred in principle because a smaller section of the Black River Canal would be impacted.
Although negative impacts have been identified in this Basic Assessment Report, they can be mitigated to an acceptable degree of impact and risk if the provisions of the Environmental Management Programme are implemented and enforced. Authorisation for the proposed extension of the Black River Canal culvert is thus recommended by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner on condition that all mitigation measures in the BAR and EMPr are adhered to by the proponent, with Layout Alternative 1 identified as the preferred alternative.
Public participation is a key component of the environmental assessment process as it introduces the proposed activity to the public and provides an opportunity for comments and concerns to be raised. Public participation will be undertaken in terms of Section 41 of the 2014 NEMA: EIA Regulations, as amended.
The draft Environmental Basic Assessment Report will be made available to the broader public, identified Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) and relevant Organs of State for their perusal and comment from 21 April 2021 until 24 May 2021 by the following means:
- Notify key identified I&APs. This includes adjacent landowners and occupiers, ward councillors, state departments and Organs of State.
- A media notice will be published in the local newspaper (Lansdowne People’s Post)
- Site notices will be placed, complying with the regulatory requirements.
- An electronic copy of the Basic Assessment Report (BAR) will be placed on The Environmental Partnership’s website (www.enviropart.co.za)
- An information sheet (summary of the BAR) will be distributed to identified key Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) via e-mail and post.
- Directly adjacent landowners
- Key I&APs including ward councillors for Ward 58 and Ward 59
- Any Community Organisation such as a Ratepayers Association in the area
- On request from the public, an information Sheet will be available
- The draft Basic Assessment Report will be distributed to the relevant Organs of State via e-mail (with a WeTransfer link for larger files, if necessary):
- Western Cape Government: Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (the competent authority)
- City of Cape Town: Environmental and Heritage Management
- Compilation of a Comments and Response Table to document all comments received.
To ensure that reasonable opportunity was provided for public participation during the COVID-19 pandemic the following additional measures methods were utilised to give notice to potential I&APs:
- An opportunity to comment via WhatsApp Messaging Service as an additional method of communication.
- The information sheet will also be made available on the website as a second download option which is a concise yet comprehensive summary of the Basic Assessment Report.
This Basic Assessment Report is being made available for a second 30-day commenting period to the registered I&APs and relevant Organs of State for their perusal and comment. The commenting period commences on 21 April 2021 and closes on 24 May 2021.
At the end of the commenting period, all comments will be captured and addressed and included in a Final Basic Assessment Report which will be submitted to the competent authority, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning for the environmental decision.
Comments on this report must be submitted on or before 24 May 2021 to:
The Environmental Partnership
P O Box 945, Cape Town, 8000
Tel: 021 422 0999; Fax: 021 422 0998
WhatsApp (messages only): 068 493 5890