The irony: Farmers appeal to WC Dept to protect farm land from developers

Yesterday 3 Oct 2016 the PHA local civic [the Schaapkraal Civic and Environmental Association]- together with the PHA Campaign, lodged formal appeal documents with the Department of Environment and Development Planning ito of the Environmental Impact Assessment process for Consol Sand Mining application in the PHA.

The 55ha proposed silica sand mining site is situated in the PHA and is a seasonal wetland with prolific bird life in winter. The proposed mine will have a lifespan of 30 years wherafter the land will resemble a hole in the ground filled with toxic water. The land can be used for farming in summer months as is the practice in these parts of the PHA. The beauty and heritage value of the PHA farmlands will be trashed if the mine is approved.

In terms of the geohydrology and aquifer threat our comment noted:

“An independent examination of this hydrocensus methodology is required. It is beyond the expertise of this commentator [the Environmental Management Practitioner for Concol], and academics approached in this regard were unable to provide a voluntary report on this within the time frame of the commentary period. It is therefore requested that INDEPENDENT evidence be commissioned, as this [EMP] statement is in contradiction with anecdotal and published academic findings presented at the 1st Cape Flats Aquifer Seminar held in the Philippi Horticultural Area on 5th June 2014.”

IN ADDITION:

“The relevant District Spatial Development Plan in the case of this development proposal is the Cape Flats District Plan, identifying the PHA as an area of Agricultural land of significant value, the Environmental Impact Management Table refers specifically to mining as the “Kind of developments, land uses or activities that would be undesirable.” It also lists “Activities that can pollute water and soil resources (which are required for agricultural activities).

DEA/DP approved the EIA 25 July 2016.

The opening statement of our appeal documents noted:

“In the reading of the reasons for granting of the authorisation, it is quite clear that the contents of most, if not all the comments submitted in the process of public participation of this application were not considered. There is no acknowledgement of the contents of the documents submitted (in the form of any engagement with the issues raised, and no reasons offered for dismissing the public’s concerns are proffered), as is required for this to process to have been carried out in the spirit of “meaningful participation”.

The proposed sand mining project will have a significant and unacceptable impact on the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) environment and heritage, the Cape Flats Aquifer, the surrounding community and the food security of the greater City of Cape Town”.

We now wait for a response from DEA/DP MEC Anton Bredell.

Thank you Susanna Coleman, Gavin Lawson, Marthan Theart for the hard work in the EIA documentation. The PHA community and this city owes you a deep debt of gratitude. Your voluntary work in the PHA Campaign is exemplary.

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