No green light yet for Uitkamp in Durbanville

 


TygerBurger
11 March 2015

The dispute about the controversial Uitkamp development outside Durbanville is entering another chapter with the Durbanville Community Forum (DCF) locking horns with the developer with an application for leave to appeal the high court decision in December on the development.

This came after Judge Dennis Davis ruled on 24 December that the decision of Anton Bredell, Western Cape minister of local government, environmental affairs and development planning, to approve the Uitkamp development in November 2011, was the right one.

Among the DCF’s concerns are that the “scientifically proven high potential and unique soils of the property and its substantial delineated wetland” are at threat.

“The wetland area includes much of the area allocated to the Chesterhouse school grounds, as well as the entrance to the development.” said Danny St Dare in a media release issued by the DCF on Monday.

The media release was issued in reaction to a full-page advertorial that was published by the developer in Tygerburger on Wednesday 25 February.

In the advertorial it was claimed the ruling by the Western Cape high court has paved the way for the development to proceed.

St Dare said the DCF is surprised at the bravado of the Uitkamp developer. “It seems to be premature as the DCF has brought not one, but two high court review cases against the developer,” he said.

‘The developer also still needs at least two national approvals – one from the national minister of agriculture and one from the national department of water affairs, neither of whom have provided final approvals.

“The DCF also launched its review of the City approval in November last year, for which a court date still needs to be set and the matter still needs to be heard.”

He said the DCF has exercised its right to apply for leave to appeal, also on 25 February, after studying the decision of the Cape high court and taking legal advice, “In its founding affidavit the DCF indicates that the environment, protected in terms of the Bill of Rights, is simply being developed out of existence,” he stated.

In the media release he stated the DCF continues to maintain that the specialist reports show that only the streamline is being afforded some protection from the development and not the broader delineated wetland.

”Similarly medium to high potential soils are also substantially threatened by the development,” he said.
It was further stated that “an important soil science map was allegedly misrepresented”.

“To date three soil science specialist reports have been produced by four independent scientists, all of whom came to the same conclusion; that the soils are high potential and need to be preserved.

“By contrast the developer’s town planner, who is not a specialist in this field, produced a soils map which substantially down-rated these medium to high potential soils. This was alleged as a misrepresentation of the true facts by the soil scientist”, St Dare stated.

Furthermore, the Admins Wetland Delineation Study was omitted by the developer from the environmental impact assessment and public participation process.

“This study, which was commissioned by the developer himself, showed the extent of the wetland. The delineated wetland extends into the school grounds and the entrance to the proposed estate. Wetlands are invaluable and endangered eco systems, the functions of which have been severely damaged by irresponsible development in the past”, St Dare said.
”What is of real concern is that school grounds have been allocated on both high potential soils and delineated wetlands and the DCF wonders what sort of legacy it will leave to future generations of school children as greater awareness evolves of our ever decreasing, scarce and irreplaceable natural resources.

“Once these resources are developed on, they are damaged forever”, he said.

In the meantime Boetie Louw on behalf of the AFM Louw Family Trust, the developer, has entered into a joint venture, the Clara Anna Fontein Joint Venture (CAFJV), with the Rabie Property Group.

In response to the media release, Alwyn Laubscher, on behalf of the developer, said CAFJV has the legal right to proceed with the development.

“As a matter of fact, it had this right for more than 10 months. Out of respect for the court, it held back its development plans until after the high court hearing, “Specialist reports that accompanied the application were deemed correct and acceptable to the minister of local government, environmental affairs and development planning. This decision was support-
ed in no uncertain terms by Judge Dennis Davis.

“What the judge has said, is what is important, and his judgement was very clear that the case of the DCF was not justified.

“The DCF has got a constitutional right to take these objections to court, as they have done. To now want to argue the same points in the press, based on incorrect facts, is not acceptable and CAFJV declines to participate in such a debate”, he said.

To this, St Dare said the court case to which the developer refers, is with regard to the environmental authorisation as a result of an environmental impact assessment. “The land is agricultural land and it remains under the jurisdiction of the national minister of agriculture. No provincial or City approvals can supersede his and the national department’s authority over the land. The developer still needs approvals from both the national departments of agriculture and water affairs – any local authorisations granted cannot in isolation be wrenched from the rest of the legislative processes,” St Dare said.

 

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