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Monday Sep 09, 2013

Careful scrutiny for Cape Town's V&A property development

The proposed new development at Cape Town's V& A Waterfront, which includes hotels, flats and more shopping space, will require a full Environmental Impact Assessment ( EIA) because it could potentially affect marine life, wave patterns and traffic in the Granger Bay area.

The Oceana Power Boat Club was granted the right to operate from its Granger Bay site in 1974.

That's according to a scoping report prepared by the developers behind the plans for a new mixed-use development, which also points out that more dolosse will be needed to stabilise the shoreline there.

A temporary barrier was constructed a few years ago, but this has reached the end of its design life and is currently unstable.

The scoping report says an EIA will need to be conducted and a record of decision acquired, a process the developers hope to have completed by December next year.

And it won't come cheap either - the report details three different stabilisation options, with the first-choice one coming in at an anticipated cost of R195 million.

On the impact on wave action, the report says a study into any such impact will have to be commissioned because 'the proposed dolosse revetment will affect the wave regime and, given the high usage of Granger Bay by a variety of watercraft (including commercial line fishing), it is necessary that the wave effects are determined'.

Asked to comment, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa's (Wessa) Patrick Dowling warned that the deflection of wave energy, depending on the situation of the developments, could potentially change wave energy - which could in turn alter the whole erosion of the bay.

The Oceana Power Boat Club, which will continue to operate in the developed area, said this week they were happy that they would be allowed to continue to operate in their present location.

Club commodore Colin Wolfsohn said: 'This is the first time that we can guarantee that we will stay in our present location.'
He was also pleased to have been kept involved in the process, and said they looked forward to continued involvement with the V&A Waterfront, now that they had built up a 'nice positive relationship'.

Wolfsohn said it was vital that the club remain where it is, because it offers the only safe launching facility for small craft, and notably for fishermen who would otherwise find themselves unable to work.

He was aware there would be developments around the club, but was unsure of how they would be affected. The main concern was that the club needed to be allowed to keep its present parking area, which offered space for trailers and boats.

In terms of the impact of the new development on marine ecology, the scoping report says the existing marine environment shows 'signs of disturbance and low species diversity owing to its proximity to an urban area and a major port'. Dowling said a full EIA would have to be conducted, but that this could be time-consuming and may even delay the development plans.

Visually, the report says rules governing the area require that a 'visual arc' must be preserved. Buildings may not be higher than five storeys within this arc, but outside of it they may be as high as 10 to 15 storeys, which would necessitate a visual impact study.

On traffic, it said a study needed to be done into the impact of 'the number of new trips generated by the development'.

Anyone who would like to participate in the EIA and provide comment on the draft scoping report is required to register, or submit comment in writing, to Khula Environmental consultants on or before October 9, at nicksteytler-AT-telkomsa-DOT-net.

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

    
 

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