‘Lakeside development plans have not changed’ – Nevada Group

Nevada Group confirmed that the Lakeside shopping centre, that will be known as the Flamingo Shopping Centre in Modderfontein, will have two levels as per its original plans.

Also read: Residents unhappy about proposed shopping centre

This comes after the Modderfontein Community Working Group members expressed their concerns about the Lakeside development following suspicions that the centre would have more than two levels.

Also read: Nevada Group holds meeting with Modderfontein residents

Group member Kimbal Mare said Nevada, the company building the shopping centre, failed to address residents’ concerns.

Also read: Group intends to replace trees

Mare said the group requested the company to send the latest approved shopping centre development plan on register at the Johannesburg Department of Development Planning.

“They have not been forthcoming about what seems to be changed to the original plan which the residents agreed upon,” said Mare.

“We noticed that there are additional structural elements materialising on top of the centre structure, which were not indicated on any previous development plans that we have seen.

“If there has been an amendment to the design of the centre, we need them to provide us with the municipal approval for this amendment.

“They also need to indicate how the community was consulted in the process of gaining this approval. The request for the plans was sent to Nevada on April 4. We have not received any communication from them,” said Mare.

Ward 32 Clr Bongani Nkomo said he was informed by a resident about what seemed to be a third floor being added to the building.

“The original plan was to only have two levels. Residents are not happy about the change of plans because they were not consulted by the developer,” said Nkomo.

He said Nevada did not keep its promise to accommodate the Modderfontein Library.

“The library had to be moved to the Linbro Park Library and that is an inconvenience as people now have to travel to Linbro to access the library.

“The library was meant to be Nevada’s way of giving back to the community and if it is closed then how exactly are they giving back to the community?”

Kevin Fisher, operations manager at Thornhill Estate, said the company was not adhering to the original plans that were approved in 2014.

He said the matter was escalated to the Johannesburg Department of Development Planning to look into, however, the construction work has not stopped on site.

“One would think that since the matter has been sent to Johannesburg for review, construction would stop until feedback is received, but they are still building.”

Residents are also concerned about the accommodation of traffic at the estate entrances. Residents said the change of layout from traffic circles is causing confusion as drivers, previously familiar with circles approach the intersections.

“This is presenting an unsafe set of circumstances for drivers, pedestrians and traffic in general.

An artist’s impression shopping centre, presented to the public in 2014.

“We urge Nevada to provide a more comprehensive design for the temporary accommodation of traffic, including signage and road markings, that can be urgently implemented to ensure that the expectations of all road users were clear,” said Fisher.

They also want to see the final road and intersection design as prepared by the engineer.

“We would like to see these plans prior to the submission to the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) so that the community can comment and provide input to such detail as working around property boundaries, and pedestrian access and flow,” said Mare.

Nevada responds

Vasili Manelis, director at Nevada, said the centre will have two shopping levels.

“Queens Street accesses the lower ground, where all shops and the flagship Checkers grocery anchor will be found. The Johannesburg Road level is on the upper ground level, which will showcase two restaurants, the Modderfontein Medical Centre and additional covered parking for the lower ground shops. There will be a ramp that allows cars to travel between the two levels, with two sets of stairs and elevators for people. A small mezzanine section set between the two shopping levels will be used by centre management,” said Manelis.

He added that the additional structural elements seen above the top level are the elevator and stairwell extension from the upper ground level to the roof.

“No shops will be constructed on the roof, and it will be used for servicing of air-conditioning, air vents and waterproofing, open-air rooftop yoga and meditation, open-air art gallery displays, public viewing of Flamingo Dam, the wetland and the landscaped picnic gardens along the waterfront and an organic herb garden, maintained by the local restaurants and the community,” he said.

“Viewing perspectives from the roof will be limited towards Flamingo Dam and the Picnic Park only.

“Plant and shutter screens will block direct views of the residents of Lakeside Village.”

In response to traffic concerns, Manelis said that Nevada appointed the JRA approved road works contractor for the required upgrades to Queens Street, Johannesburg Road and the re-alignment of Valley Road.

He said Nevada was the contractor for the shopping centre, but not the roadworks contractor.

“Nevada has requested the roads contractor to keep us informed of road closures and diversions prior to these taking effect, so that we may inform the community in turn. The roadworks should be completed by June 30 this year,” said Manelis.

He said the old Modderfontein Library was in urgent need of refurbishment.

“As we understand, the City of Joburg could not afford to maintain both the Modderfontein Library and the Linbro Park Library operating a few kilometres up the road, and thus decided to utilise its limited resources to try and keep Linbro Park open.

“Nevada made a market-related offer to build a new library to replace the old building. CoJ then requested a 90 per cent discount, due to insufficient funding, which in effect cancelled the project,” he said.

He added that Nevada was now in discussions with investors to develop a privately funded and privately managed library.

“If successful, it will create new employment opportunities, with the added value of a free reading area for school kids and a better service to the community,” said Manelis.

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