Final ‘yes’ for Bell decks

2016-02-16 06:00
 Decks at the Brass Bell no longer need environmental authorisation following a change to a national law.  PHOTO: nicole mccain

Decks at the Brass Bell no longer need environmental authorisation following a change to a national law. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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The decks at Brass Bell are here to stay, as the provincial environmental affairs and development planning department declares “case closed”.

Residents raised their concern in 2012 about the construction of two deck areas around the children’s tidal pool and the installation of a door along a public walkway between the harbour and Main Road.

Brass Bell owner Tony White says a misunderstanding arose after he approached the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa (Prasa) – the land owner from whom White leases – for permission to extend the deck area.

Prasa gave the permission and, considering the work to be minimal, was of the opinion that environmental authorisation was not needed, according to media reports at the time.

White did not realise permission was needed from the provincial department, but applied for the permission retroactively after it was brought to his attention, he says.

In 2012, the National Environmental Management Act required permission for in-filling, excavation and construction activities within 100m of the high water mark.

However, the act changed in 2014 to accommodate construction within “an urban area” that would not require environmental authorisation.

White then applied to have his application withdrawn as the construction of the decks fell within an urban area.

The provincial department has now issued a letter agreeing with White.

It also states that the request for withdrawal is accepted and the file is “closed for all administrative purposes”.

In September 2014 the City of Cape Town, Prasa and the Brass Bell entered into an agreement that covered access to the pools, White says.

White is relieved the “costly process” is now over, with legal fees costing double the amount to build the decks, he says.

Tony Trimmel, chairperson of the Kalk Bay Ratepayers’ Association, says although the case may be closed, the organisation is still waiting for the results of a social impact assessment which is being completed on the area around the tidal pools.

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