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By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

People fight new Gautrain route as possible expropriation of homes mooted

Access to the Olivedale Library, the N1 highway, retirement villages, hospitals and shopping centres would also be affected.

“Over my dead body, a rottweiler and a big stick.” Those were the words Carol Freeman used when asked whether she would be willing to give up her family home of three generations so the Gautrain route could be extended.

Freeman and hundreds of other Sharonlea residents are worried about their homes being expropriated so the Gautrain network can be extended to proposed stations in Randburg central business district, Northgate and Little Falls.

Sharonlea has in the past been called Joburg’s safest suburb.

At a department of roads and transport portfolio committee meeting, the Gautrain Management Agency said a 400m-wide corridor had been set for the route through Sharonlea and barring major changes following public engagements and the opinion of the MEC, the new Gautrain route would be situated somewhere within the corridor.

According to the latest map presented by the agency, wherever the rail is placed, housing, schools, community and religious groups, as well as the roads ambulances use to get to Netcare Olivedale Hospital, would be affected.

“It is not just about compensation. I was born here and my mom lived here for 44 years,” Matt Boer said.

“I grew up here and am proud to say I had a hand in forming this community. “We have invested a lot of money in the security systems here but we have also invested in Sharonlea emotionally.

“We poured our hearts into this place.” Freeman’s late husband’s ashes are buried next to a 90-yearold oak tree in her garden and her daughter Tracy and her family also live on the property.

“This is a mixed, beautifully functioning and safe community. It’s a perfect example to South Africa and yet they want to break it up,” Tracy complained.

Kate Marini, who works in real estate, said it may be worse for residents on the border of the corridor, who will not have their homes expropriated, but their property values will drop due to construction, traffic, increase in crime and other issues.

Greater Sharonlea Residents Forum chair JC Wouters said in the written objections residents submitted to the agency, they argued Sharonlea Primary School, Curro pre-primary, Scienza Academy, Leaps and Bounds and Amazing K School will be affected.

Access to the Olivedale Library, the N1 highway, retirement villages, hospitals and shopping centres would also be affected. The annual Halloween event and regular community walkabouts may have to be scrapped. All these residents and more have written to the agency without getting a reply.

– Randburg Sun/news@citizen.co.za

ALSO READ: Gautrain Rapid Rail Integrated Network causes anxiety to residents

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