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Monday Aug 27, 2012

Port rezoning boost for Glenwood and Umbilo residents

Glenwood and Umbilo residents are set to benefit from eThekwini municipality's back-of-port logistics plan as rezoning may reduce heavy trucks on the roads, and compel noxious industries to move.

Councillor for the Glenwood and Umbilo area, Warwick Chapman, said the implications for areas in the long run might be "ultimately good".

The rezoning comes as Transnet moves ahead with plans to build a dig-out port at the old Durban International Airport site to increase container handling capacity.

The area behind the port is expected to house businesses that will support the port.

While residents in Clairwood are fighting the rezoning, claiming that they are being forced out of the area, the result may be positive for other parts of the city.

Chapman said there was a small residential community in the Flamingo Court area, and this would be the only area that would be rezoned, resulting in those property owners being able to sell their land to light industrial businesses.

"As this is a dilapidated residential area, this might be an improvement to the area in the long term," said Chapman.

Referring to road freight, Chapman said: "Hopefully with the dedicated freight routes, it should clear out the roads, especially Umbilo and Francois roads of those heavy vehicles.

"The other important thing is that noxious industries will not be allowed to operate west of Sydney Road."

Graham Muller, the consultant for the back-of-port plan, said Frere Road would not be rezoned for industrial use.

Meanwhile, environmental group Earthlife Africa is opposing the back-of-port plans.

"The port developments will cut through the Bluff dune and remove most of the remaining marsh system in the basin, exposing the area to greater flooding and damage in the extreme weather events we can expect with climate change," said Alice Thomson, of Earthlife Africa Durban.

The Independent on Saturday


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