Hout Bay property developer starts rehabilitation of filled wetland
The development company that controversially filled in Disa River wetlands adjoining its Hout Bay Beach Club dune development has started rehabilitating the site.
A backhoe removes rubble and fill at the start of the wetland rehabilitation.
The extensive rehabilitation work, which must be completed by the end of next month, comes after sustained pressure and objections from the Hout Bay community - including a petition from Kronendal Primary School - and after legal action by the City of Cape Town and the regional office of the Water Affairs Department.
The developer, Really Useful Investments 219 (Pty) Ltd, filled in a substantial part of the wetlands' floodplain adjoining the Disa River for further development, but insisted that the work was done legally in terms of a construction environmental management plan that had been approved by the provincial environmental authorities last February.
It ignored an order from the city to stop work in terms of the stormwater management by-law. The city then issued a directive under the National Environmental Management Act, and Water Affairs served a directive under the National Water Act.
Today, the city said in a statement that both it and Water Affairs had had "significant concerns" about the impact of the infilling on the riverine and wetland environment, the quality of the water, and the beach areas next to the Beach Club.
The city's directive required the developer to stop infilling immediately, to survey the natural flood lines and appoint a freshwater ecologist to assess the impact of infilling and make detailed recommendations for rehabilitation.
This process had taken some time to conclude because the developer had needed to obtain information from wetland and hydrological specialists.
The city said it had received confirmation from the developer that preparation work for the rehabilitation of the wetlands would start yesterday.
Rashid Khan, chief director of the regional Water Affairs office, said: "This is another good example of co-operative governance between the city and the department to protect our natural resources."
The spokesman for the developer, Somerset West attorney Johan du Plessis, was not available for comment.