Steyn City equestrian centre sparks K56 debate

KYALAMI – The launch of Steyn City’s equestrian centre has been met with mixed feelings from residents, who believe that Steyn City is intent on building the K56 which they believe will destroy Kyalami’s greenbelt and horse industry.

The K56 road, which would provide an east-west link from Main Road to William Nicol Drive through Glenferness, has been proposed for more than 20 years. Kyalami residents have contested

An African Grass-Owl. Photo: Tyrone McKendry and GEKCO

An African Grass-Owl. Photo: Tyrone McKendry and GEKCO

the building of the road as they believe it will disrupt the sensitive habitats in the area, threatening the wetlands and the horse riding industry.

Read Steyn City launches world-class equestrian centre

Jassy Mackenzie, a resident said, “If Steyn City was truly pro-equestrian and wanted to work with the residents in the area instead of working against them, [they] would agree to scrap the plans for the K56 and preserve the equestrian ethos of Kyalami by rather widening and improving the surrounding roads, which is a viable alternative.”

Mackenzie further argued that the only reason Steyn City was pushing for the K56 to be built was for easier access, “This road will not alleviate traffic – all it will do is provide easy access to Steyn City from Main Road.”

In a written response to Fourways Review, CEO of Steyn City Properties, Giuseppe Plumari, claimed the K56 had been in the pipeline for years and was, in fact, beneficial to the whole community. “Most landowners would have been well aware of the proposed route. The same as the PWV5 and other planned routes that negatively affect ourselves and many other landowners.”

Plumari added that the planning and rollout of the roads were the sole prerogative of the Gautrans Roads Department and Johannesburg Roads Agency. “As we are responsible developers who want to make a difference, we are contributing a third of the cost towards the bulk infrastructure and roads. The upgrade of the William Nicol road is testament to that,” he said.

Plumari confirmed that the equestrian opportunities were indeed one of the reasons for prospective homeowners to live in Steyn City. “Steyn City is offering prospective homeowners over 100 reasons to live in Steyn City, predominantly lifestyle and health-related activities. Steyn City does not wish to substitute rural and small holdings’ living with their equestrian facility, we simply want to create a lifestyle to enrich our homeowners’ lives,” he said.

However, residents continue to argue that developments such as these are threatening the rural lifestyle many residents were trying to preserve. “Many developers use equestrian as a way to attract residents into their estates, rather than a permanent feature,” Mackenzie explained.

Ward 94 councillor John Mendelsohn explained that residents from Glenferness completely opposed the development of the K56. According to the residents, it makes no sense to build a short section of highway as it would add traffic congestion, particularly at the Crowthorne intersection.

However, Ward 93 councillor Annette Deppe said, “… I am pro this road because… it comes from a need to connect people from where they live to where they work.” Deppe added that although she was pro the K56, it was vital to be mindful of the environmental needs of the area.

Greater Kyalami Conservancy chairperson Kristin Kallesen said, “Gekco is opposed to the construction of the K56 through the conservancy and supports the alternative of upgrading existing roads.”

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