BY SILAS NKALA
FOLLOWING perennial flooding in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has resolved to demolish 17 properties and relocate the affected families to pave way for development of drainage infrastructure.
During the rainy season, the suburb is prone to flooding due to a cocktail of factors such as a poor drainage system and road network.
Latest council minutes state that the local authority is acting to alleviate flooding in the Hlalani Kuhle area 11 and 12. The minutes quote acting director of engineering services Sikhumbuzo Ncube saying: “Flooding problems in Hlalani Kuhle development were attributed to lack of roads, storm water drainage and the allied structures, that is, culverts, shelverts and bridges. An inter-departmental committee comprising engineering services, town planning and housing and community services carried out a site visit to assess the impact of proposed flood alleviation measures on the existing stands.”
Ncube said the Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle development had 101km of proposed road network and only 1,2km had been formally constructed.
“It was noted that some stands were located within water courses or floodplains which made it impossible to provide a sustainable urban drainage system. The storm water drainage system would direct surface water runoff from the stands and road surface into natural watercourses,” he added.
Council said in order to alleviate flooding, storm water drainage systems and associated structures had to be developed along the partially-constructed roads to ensure that the new drains ultimately discharge into existing watercourses.
Existing watercourses also need to be diverted, meaning that some stands must be relocated. The affected stands are 200 square metres each.
The local authority said construction equipment could not be deployed until all those affected are relocated.
“Some of the stands in this area were allocated on watercourses which posed a challenge in the installation of a proper drainage system. The stands, that were situated on watercourses, should be relocated to pave way for the installation of drainage systems,” the report read.
Councillors Ernest Rafamoyo and Kidwel Mujuru demanded to know who would compensate the property owners and pay relocation expenses.
“The town planning department would conduct evaluation and thereafter necessary compensation would be done accordingly. Council would channel a percentage of the devolution fund towards the relocation costs,” the engineering department said.
Council said out of 15 525 stands, only 31% had sewage reticulation systems, which was a ticking bomb in the event of sewer collapse.
Luveve Member of Parliament, Stella Ndlovu has reportedly pledged to donate $650 000 through Constituency Development Funds to fund the drainage programme.
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