Seventeen residential stands in Cowdray Park are set to be completely demolished and owners relocated by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to pave way for the installation of drainage systems as part of efforts to alleviate flooding in the Hlalani Kuhle area segments 11 and 12.
This follows complaints of flooding by some residents over the years during the rainy season.
According to the recent Environmental management and engineering services committee report, Council is going to divert devolution funds to compensate property owners who had already developed their residential stands.
The local authority said they noted that some stands were located within water courses or within flood plains which made it impossible to provide a sustainable urban drainage system.
Beneficiaries of stands 18666, 18667, 18668, 18712, 18853, 18852, 20143, 20144, 20145, 20113 20074, 20060, 20061, 20062, 20063, 19837, and 19807 will be affected.
Discussing the issue, Ward 20 Councillor Alderman Ernest Rafamoyo said the stands should be identified prior to the relocation.
“He further inquired on the availability of vacant stands where the affected property owners would be relocated to. The stands should be identified prior to the relocation process. He further sought clarity on Council’s fiscal capacity to compensate the property owners who had already developed their land,” read the council report.
Meanwhile, Councillor Kidwell Mujuru wanted to know who would take care of the relocation expenses since some of these stands had been developed.
In response, the Deputy Director of Engineering Services (roads) advised that liaisons would be made with other departments in the identification of vacant stands.
“The stands due for relocation were at different levels of development. The Town Planning Department would conduct an evaluation and thereafter necessary compensations would be done accordingly. Council would channel a percentage of the devolution fund towards the relocation costs,” said the minutes.
In addition, the engineer said only 31 percent of the residential stands in Cowdray Park had a sewer reticulation system.
“He further explained that the area in question had 15 525 stands and out of these only 31% had a sewer reticulation system. Cowdray Park was a ticking time bomb, in the event that the sewer system collapsed there would be an outbreak of diseases that would affect the entire City.”
However, Alderman Rafamoyo was of the view that the devolution fund could not be used in one ward.
“He wanted to know if the fund was confined to specific projects or Council had the liberty to use it as seen fit,” read the report.
Ward 13 Councillor Frank Javangwe noted with concern that since the inception of devolution funds, Cowdray Park had always received first preference in the utilization of the fund.
In addition, ward 2 Councillor Joice Ndlovu said there is a need for redevelopment in all wards as infrastructure was dilapidated.