Waterfront back on track

2010-03-31 00:00

THE multi-billion rand Camps Drift waterfront development project, which is expected boost the city’s economy, is back on the cards after being put on ice for several months.

The development project was revived after an environmental impact assessment (EIA) following the recent transfer of the Camps Drift land to the water­front developer, Ocean Spray Investments.

Consultants conducting the EIA, Terra­test (Pty) Ltd, confirmed to The Witness yesterday that the assessment is proceeding.

Leanne Miskey of Terratest said they are engaged in the public participation process and after that they will consult the relevant stakeholders and residents who are interested in the project as well as those who might be affected by the development.

“We are in the first month of the EIA and this will be completed within a year or a year-and-a-half,” she said.

Interested or affected parties have until April 23 to state their interests — or grievances — in the proposed development, along with any comments or queries they may have.

One of Ocean Spray Investments’ directors, Nandi Mandela, also confirmed yesterday that the project is going ahead.

She said the developer was waiting for the land transfer and that the EIA process has started now that the transfer has been finalised.

She was asked when the project is expected to be completed and how much it is expected to cost at present prices. In 2007 its cost was estimated at R3 billion.

Mandela replied: “The current cost of the completed project is estimated at R5 billion.”

It will be a mixture of residential, commercial and retail developments.

Mandela said the development should take about eight years to complete.

Other aspects of the development will be a light industrial complex, medium- and high-density residential areas, a hotel, service yards and parking areas, a shopping centre, a convention centre and an office park.

Acting Msunduzi municipal manager Kevin Perumal said a land sale agreement has been signed between the municipality and the developer. A number of pre-agreement conditions have also been imposed and are expected to be met by the developer, he added.

The pre-agreement conditions include applying for the rezoning of the land, conducting the EIA and making a hydrological study, because the development will be on a floodplain and the developer needs to have a plan for how to divert water in case of floods, Perumal said.

“We are excited about the project. It will add value to the economy of the city and we will do everything in our power to assist the developers,” he added.

The developers are also set to build a shopping centre in Edendale, where the Qokololo Stadium is situated.

Reports suggested recently that the developer is in a financial crisis.

The Camps Drift waterfront project has been on the cards since 2004, but the plans were shelved — along with a host of other projects aimed at boosting the city’s economy and creating thousands of jobs — when the recently ousted council leadership took over in 2006,

Other projects that appear to have fallen by the wayside since 2006 include the construction of a furniture factory in Polocrosse by an Italian family, the Constantinis, the greening of the Freedom Square precinct and the establishment of an economic hub in the greater Edendale area.


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