Point plan under fire

2013-07-15 00:00

IT is likely organisations battling the proposed multi-million rand Point development project will contest the amended development plan made public last week.

All objections and comments are expected to be submitted by tomorrow.

The amended development plan is the result of nearly five years of legal wrangling between the Durban Point Development Corporation (DPDC) and several non-profit organisations with an interest in the beach area south of uShaka Marine World.

The deadlock was eventually broken in November 2012 when the DPDC reached a settlement agreement with the Durban Paddle-Ski Club and Save Vetch’s Association, which ultimately paved the way for the new development plan.

Diane Dold, from Coastwatch, said they will be objecting to the construction of a promenade below the erosion line.

“The amended plan makes is clear that a promenade will be constructed. We will, on environmental grounds, object to this, as it is below the erosion line. Furthermore, if they persist with the need for the construction of the promenade, it will be in breach of our settlement agreement and could lead to further litigation,” said Dold.

In 2009, DPDC was granted environmental permission by the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development (DAERD) to construct a 175-mooring small-craft harbour, a breakwater adjacent to Vetch’s pier and several buildings in the contested area.

The amended development is much smaller than what was initially envisioned, but the buildings will be taller, up to 33 storeys.

The greatly reduced version will see the development moved away from Vetch’s Pier completely, while there will be a larger beach area for recreational purposes, such as sailing, diving, surfing and swimming.

In the application for the amendment to the environmental authorisation sent to DAERD in April, environmental consultant Pravin Amar Singh said the motivation for the amendment is the result of Save Vetch’s Association, the Durban Paddle-Ski Club and the developer having reached a settlement agreement.

Singh said the “revised plan will restrict building on the beach zone or Vetch’s Basin”.

“The revised plan will make a larger area of the beach zone accessible to the public and launching of craft will take place in this zone, which increases its capacity in terms of beach activities within the area.

“The proposed amendments work in favour of all the interests of parties involved … [and] will not result in any negative impacts to the environment, since the revised plan [is a] down-scaled development,” said Singh.

The Witness has learnt that the Save Vetch’s Association will apply for more time to submit its comments. However, the group could not be reached for further comment.

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