Deal over road to hotel in Berg

2011-03-14 00:00

A LEGAL dispute between the owners of Cathedral Peak hotel in the Drakensberg and the KwaZulu-Natal Conservation Board over maintenance of a road leading through the Cathedral Peak reserve to the hotel has finally been resolved in the high court.

Acting Judge Yvonne Gcaba granted an order consented to by both parties on Friday in terms of which the KZN Conservation Board was ordered to ensure that sufficient funding and “appropriate budgetary steps” are taken to ensure that the road in question is properly “repaired, maintained and upgraded” within three years from May 1.

It was also ordered to continue to maintain, repair and upgrade the road.

The board must also ensure that all potholes are repaired within two weeks of their being reported and general repairs are to be done within a month of being reported.

The order stipulates that if any part of the budget set aside for the road in any one year is not used, the amount is to be carried over and added to that of the ensuing year so as to speed up the completion of the roadwork and provide an “ongoing fund” for the road.

Another part of the order states that the parties are to “co-operate with one another in order to bring about and maintain a road of a proper standard for their mutual use and benefit as well as that of their respective patrons”.

The KZN Nature Conservation Board was ordered to pay the hotel’s legal costs, amounting to over R300 000.

The dispute between the board and the William van der Riet Family Trust — which owns the Cathedral Peak hotel — has been going on in the high court since 2008.

According to court papers the board is obliged to maintain the road, which leads through Cathedral Peak reserve (under the control of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) in terms of an agreement reached in 2005.

The road is used by both international and local tourists, the local community and EKZNW’s Didima resort.

It was alleged in court papers that the board continually failed to meet its obligations, despite a court order granted by Acting High Court Judge Barry Skinner on April 20 last year that compelled the board to carry out the necessary maintenance and repairs to the road.

According to the court papers, an inspection of the road in January this year found that it was in a dangerous state of disrepair and in danger of “imminent collapse” in the event of a further downpour of rain.

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