The proposal to build an SUV track in the Cape Town suburb has sparked a rift among residents. The land that once housed the Claremont bowling alley has not been used for many years. The land is not guarded, and the number of homeless people sleeping on it has increased.
For years, a group of families forcibly evicted from Bowwood Road in Claremont, Cape Town have fought to transfer land to them. In 2017, the land was successfully transferred to the Claremont Beneficiaries Fund, but plans to turn it into a 4 × 4 trail have been controversial.
In 2019, Rashad Carlsen signed a one-year lease with the Claremont Beneficiary Foundation, which is renewable, for the construction of a 4 × 4 trail on the ground.
“Initially, my business partner suggested opening a farmers’ market. I did a little research and noticed that there are several car dealerships in the area. Many car owners own SUVs and there are not many 4×4 tracks in the Southern Suburbs, ”Carlsen said.
The 4 × 4 Carlsen trail will include a restaurant, a children’s play park and 23 obstacle courses.
“When people think of 4×4 tracks, they think of these huge monster trucks, and that’s not what it is. It’s about your Toyota Hilux, Mercedes-Benz ML. We are also not going to allow any modified 4WD vehicles, ”Carlsen said.
Since the land was transferred to the Claremont Beneficiaries Trust, the building that used to be the Claremont Bowling Club has been abandoned, no fencing, and an increase in the number of homeless people using the space for housing and buildings. was vandalized, said Tony Snow, a member of Claremont Watch.
When the Daily Maverick visited the area, all windows were smashed and debris was strewn across the lawn. Ceilings were knocked out inside the building, graffiti hung on the wall.
Carlsen’s land-use bid is not available for public comment until February 13, and a number of people, including Jan Iversen, an advisor to Chapter 59, which includes Claremont, are opposed to it.
In December, Iversen sent out a letter to about 200 families and stated that he “does not believe the former Claremont Bowling Club is the right place for an off-road 4×4 adventure park / racetrack and will file my objection. for this position “.
Alexis van der Merwe, chairman of the Upper Clermont Taxpayers and Residents Association, said several residents expressed the opinion that they would prefer something other than the 4×4 trail in the area.
“Others offered a community garden, others offered housing. What worries people the most is the noise level that this 4 × 4 track will bring. People are also worried about how the terrain will look if SUVs are lined up on the road, ”aid Van der Merwe
Guy Harris, who lives near the area, said the 4×4 trail would increase noise and air pollution.
“The noise assessment was carried out on the ground in a Ford Ranger. We went awry and found that the peripheral noise in the area was greater than the noise I was making, ”Carlsen said.
According to the noise impact assessment, “the expected speed of vehicles is below 5 km / h. However, drivers must drive at a ‘slow pace’ to overcome most obstacles. On site, this noise of idling and slow movement at a distance of 4 meters was inaudible due to the traffic noise from Bowwood Road. ” The assessment concluded that the noise level on the trail would be around 55 decibels.
Regarding residents’ concerns about SUVs on the side of the road, Carlsen said “this is not a grassroots sport.” To reduce the noise level, the Noise Impact Assessment recommended the presence of marshals to observe the drivers and the presence of fewer than 10 vehicles on the highway at the same time.
Claremont Watch’s Snow, who doesn’t mind the 4×4 trail, said it’s better to have any development on the ground than nothing.
“This needs to be developed. Because of the state in which he was, people are hiding stolen things there. Before they cut the grass, it was not safe for patrolmen to patrol the ground, ”Snow said.
“This is a temporary step to occupy the land and make it safe; what I would like to know what will happen on this earth in three to ten years? “.Van der Merve said