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Wednesday Dec 18, 2013

Plett property development 'no quaint little harbour'

With only a month left for the public to comment on a R4-billion small boat development in Plettenberg Bay, objectors have released an architect's image of what they say is its huge size.

An artist's image of the planned R4-billion small boat development in Plettenberg Bay.

The images were commissioned by the Save Plett Alliance, which approached a Joburg-based architectural firm Staunch Vorster Architects.

Interested parties have until January 17 to comment on the final scoping report, which was released this month.

On releasing the report Dr Mike Cohen, of the CEN IEM Unit, on behalf of developers Western Cape Marina Investments, said the response to the proposed development had been overwhelming, with opposition coming mainly from affluent residents and supporters drawn from disadvantaged communities.

The images are now being circulated in a brochure to the people of Bitou.

The Save Plett Alliance argues that the development, proposed for Central Beach and the Piesang River Estuary, will completely change the character of the Plettenberg Bay strand.

Alliance representative Basil van Rooyen said the images showed the developer's plans, including 482 residential units, a 110-room five-star hotel and a yacht club, overlaid on photographs of the area.

'It is clear this is not simply a quaint little harbour but a major urban development,' he said.

The renderings did not go into detail about the style of the buildings, but simply reflected their scale and positioning.

'Up until now we have not been able to obtain accurate renderings from the developer. We were only shown a video at a public meeting, but I was told by the developer's representatives that this is not what the harbour would look like. For example, in the video there was a mountain which does not occur in Plett.'
Cohen, who has viewed the images, said they would be included as part of the public comment on the small boat harbour.

'It is a significant contribution from the Alliance, but our assessment must ultimately be based on the facts. These images are created from the information that has been available from previous reports,' he said.

Plettenberg Bay resident Bianca van Staden was 'appalled' after seeing the renderings.

'Sies! If this is what it is going to look like it will diminish the character of Plett. I am all in favour of change but this is simply too drastic,' she said.

Siena Damane, who lives in nearby Kholweni, said she was also worried the project would spoil the aesthetics of the beachfront.

'It really does not look good. It is vieslik (awful).'
The project is envisaged to create some 960 jobs for each year of construction. The jobs would be allocated to members of previously disadvantaged local communities.

However, the final scoping report reads that, due to the development, there could be a reduction in diversity of estuarine biota like steenbras.

In addition, it suggests water could become contaminated by fuel, oil and concrete during development.

Potential noise pollution was another factor that could arise over the four-year period envisaged for construction.

Cape Times


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