Outrage over Chapman's Peak office block

2012-01-10 10:21

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Cape Town - Civic groups and environmentalists have lashed out at plans to build a two-storey luxury office block on Cape Town's scenic Chapman's Peak Drive, the Cape Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The building, part of the multimillion-rand toll plaza development, will house the staff of Entilini, the private company that runs the toll road, and will be built on Table Mountain National Park land.

Philip Bam, deputy director of the Greater Cape Town Alliance, said Chapman's Peak belonged to all South Africans.

"No one has the right to claim it as their own," he told the newspaper.

"The reason we have [SA National Parks] is to protect our national parks and there is no way they should have allowed any encroachment. Parks should be sacrosanct. People do that route to see nature, not concrete."

Inquiry

Bam said it was arrogant of Transport MEC Robin Carlisle to say nothing would make him believe the proposed building would be unlawful because it would be on national park land.

Carlisle said constructing the office required a "small incursion" into Table Mountain National Park "which was signed off by the CEO so it’s all above board".

"We don’t need a monstrosity on the mountain with boardrooms and showers and entertainment rooms," said Terry Wyner, of the Civil Rights Action Group.

Patrick Dowling, of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA, said he would support an inquiry into the legality of using parks land for the office building.

"The toll road has been highly contentious from the beginning. The issue for the need for the toll road was not satisfactorily dealt with, in the view of many citizens of Cape Town."

Making national park land available for a commercial activity such as this could set an unhealthy precedent for other national parks in the rest of the country, Dowling said.

A resolution by Parliament is required before any part of a national park can be withdrawn.

- SAPA

Read more on:    robin carlisle  |  cape town  |  environment
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