Last year, the organisers of the “final meeting” about the Precinct Plan for Melville (and Auckland Park) acknowledged the community’s unhappiness about their presentation by inviting comments and complaints with a view to reopening discussion. Or so we thought. Last week, we received this communication:
 
“We, the consulting team and JDA, would like to invite you for a final discussion on the MAPP. The Updated MAPP and response to the comments received from the community / residents are available on the website (https://mymelville.gibb.co.za/)
The meeting is scheduled for 16:00 to 17:30 on 22 March 2018 at the ACA Krans Building.”
 
 
The MRA committee took umbrage on behalf of the residents of Melville and wrote this letter to the consultants.
 
Dear Nico,
On behalf of the Melville Residents Association, I am giving notice that we wish to reschedule the Melville-Auckland Park Precinct Plan meeting you proposed at short notice for 22 March. We request it be rescheduled to 10 April 2018 at 17h15.
This decision was made in consultation with Councillor Bridget Steer, partly for the reasons already conveyed to you earlier today by Amanda Diener, and largely because we reject our exclusion from further discussion about the Melville Precinct Plan.
 
Our on-deadline, well-considered, constructive and comprehensive submission was compiled on our behalf by local experts in relevant fields who took account of residents’ contributions at your public meeting, as well as your presentation there. The MRA submission was delivered in good faith last year and was acknowledged by you as follows on 17 January:
 
“We are in the process of consolidating and responding to the comments received from all the stakeholders.
 
After completion of the responses to the comments received, we will provide you with feedback. A final discussion will be set up with you for a week after our responses has (sic) been provided to you.”
 
There has been nothing approximating a full response to our submission – it feels more like a blanket dismissal of input from “all stakeholders”. We anticipated engagement, not a rebuttal. We also feel that the time and commitment of residents to the process initiated by the JDA has not been acknowledged.
 
Your reference to further urban design tenders suggests you concur with us that the Melville Precinct Plan is incomplete. We thus believe it would best serve both the residents and the suburb of Melville to re-open channels of communication at a rescheduled meeting.
 
We are hopeful that we can work together to achieve a plan we all own.
 
In anticipation of your earliest response,
 
MRA PP-sub-committee (az.oc.ellivlemevolinull@pp-arm)”