The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape recently granted an Environmental Authorisation for the proposed redevelopment of the River Club in Observatory in terms of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998, and the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014 (as amended). This decision was issued to the applicant, the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, on 20 August 2020.
Under the National Appeal Regulations, 2014, the applicant, the decision-maker, any relevant organ of state and any registered Interested and Affected Party may submit a responding statement to the appeal authority and the appellant within 20 days from the date of receipt of the appeal submission.
The Green Connection supports the OCA in its appeal and in its call for IAPs to comment and support their appeal. If you agree, let them know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Green Connection believes that the Two Rivers urban park, established by the city more than 2 decades ago, is a jewel of open space that has heritage value for generations to come. It was the scene of a historic battle between the Khoi and the settlers over the rights to grazing lands.
The area is a place where the Observatory was built, and so a space of scientific excellence. It is also a green space with two rivers running through it and a green lung for the people from Observatory and Maitland Garden Village. The River Club located in a low lying area prone to flooding is also a climate change risk. For a city that claims to be serious about climate change, it is incomprehensible for such a development to be contemplated at all.
The green connection, (part of the Two Rivers urban Park association) together with other organisatons has appealed the development decision. The green connection also takes issue with the onerous conditions that apparently apply to ordinary people who wish to appeal the development. We were asked to distribute our appeal to the more than 800 Interested and affected parties on the environmental consultants list. I do not believe that this would pass any constitutional challenge as it is biased against anyone who does not have advanced computer skills.
We need to exercise our democratic rights and ensure that our environmental heritage is protected. Now is the time to stand up and take action.