The Witherow Dam project, which is currently underway in Bloemfontein, will see major residential, industrial and commercial development take place in Heidedal over the next five years.
This is according to Nicholas Fountain from Imbazo Trading 16. His father, Ted, initially bought the property situated at the quarry from Corobrick in 2002.
The project, worth an estimated R1,3 billion, effectively started in June and is expected to be completed in five years’ time.
Fountain says the name for the project was derived from the Richard Witherow and Pamela Witherow Family Trust that has put money aside for the coloured and black community of Bloemfontein.
Fountain says the Witherow Dam development project will offer three residential, one commercial and one industrial development, each with its own brand. This includes: Golden Glades (residential), Palm Springs (residential), Waterford Park (residential), Tamboti Park (commercial), and Eland Estate (industrial). Coverland Roof Tiles and Twin City Mall are already situated on the property.
The first of the five-phase development, Golden Glades – the first residential village at the Witherow Dam – will be located on the western side. It will consist of 146 freehold homes with a variety of floor plan options, as well as 130 apartments overlooking the Witherow Dam (quarry).
Palm Springs will consist of 200 houses and 234 flats, which will also overlook the water-filled quarry. Waterford Park will further accommodate about 200 more houses.
Thirty two industrial sites will be located at the Eland Estate, with a range of floor space available. The industrial portion is already for sale with prices ranging from R1,1 million to R18-million.
The houses at the industrial site will be launched soon, but municipal services need to be installed before building on the site can start. According to Fountain, 15 commercial sites will be situated at the Tamboti Park.
Six parks are also being developed.
Fountain says as part of the contractual agreements, they have had to employ local workers from their side.
“We only employ from the area. All the guys were unskilled but they have developed skills in water, sewer, storm water and roads. This is not a short-term project. So in the long term, these guys can become foremen in their own right. We meet with the ward councillors in the area monthly to give them feedback on the project,” he says.
Eighteen workers have been employed since the start of the project. Security guards have also been employed at the quarry to safeguard the property.
Safety at the quarry
In the wake of the drowning of the 16-year-old Justin Jacobs in February, the community raised serious concerns about the safety regulations at the quarry and demanded that the unfenced mine be upgraded and fenced.
Fountain says a two-metre see-through fence will be put up at the quarry before any houses are sold. A jogging track is also planned around the perimeter fence.
He appealed to the community, especially parents, to be vigilant about the safety of their kids, especially with the summer holidays approaching.
Fountain says before development could start they had to adhere to strict requirements from the municipality and various government departments. He mentions the municipality required them to check various municipal services, including electrical, roads, storm water, water and sewer, which had to be approved by the municipality before they could hand out a service agreement. They also acquired a closing certificate from the Department of Minerals and Energy to enclose the quarry.
He says officials at the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs further tested the water for E.coli and coliform bacteria, including the mechanical make-up of the water to ensure that it is safe.
He concludes by saying that residents who intend to buy property at the Witherow Dam will enjoy the benefit of being near the Twin City Shopping Centre, being situated 5km from the Bram Fischer International Airport, near two pre-primary schools, four schools (both primary and secondary), 8km from the CBD and the University of the Free State, while they will also have access to the Pelonomi Hospital. – Mark Steenbok