The former Clairwood Park, a green lung, a buffer against pollution and industrial development, a place for people to seek safety in the event of a major industrial accident is no more. The land will be developed into a logistics and industrial park serviced by heavy duty trucks up to 2500/hr.! This development is unsafe and polluting. It will cause unhealthy vehicular and dust emissions, breakdowns, accidents, traffic jams, noise, vagrancy, prostitution, un-employment and social decay. A daily drive through Solomon Mahlangu Road (Edwin Swales)/South Coast Road is a good example of how trucks serving similar logistical parks will expose people to dust storms, reduced visibility and an area prone to accidents, fires and disasters. All this will be closer to home in Merebank and Wentworth.
Corrupt ways at initiating sensitive development:
The community was opposed to the way the developers: Capital Property Fund, now the JSE listed Fortress Fund Co. approached the development in Clairwood Park. First they made investments in education facilities to obtain community buy-in whilst destroying the green space with no community consultation. This shows that the developer was more pre-occupied with a strategy to divide and rule the local community processes. In fact the investment into local projects by developers should be separated from the EIA process otherwise it make the process corrupt. Further the approval of where funding should go to should be a local consultative process based on genuine educational and community needs once the development has been approved. The process has been flawed. It is unfortunate that the shareholders of the Fortress Fund, many of which are top banks in SA and the wealthy choose this form of unsustainable local development where they make super profits and expose the local community to a polluted and hazardous environment.
Contempt for Community Interests:
Notwithstanding the community opposition to the proposed development and the EIA process, and despite the EIA indicating that there would be an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to ensure the construction stage of the development proceeds with minimum impact to the community, our actual experiences are to the contrary for the following reasons:
- Making the road works unsafe safe for scholars, pedestrians and motorists;
- Dust suppression programs were grossly absent. The community of the south side of the development suffered acute dust impact. All attempts to complain to authorities and the developer were in vain. The main objective of the EIA is to minimise and mitigate impacts during construction and operational phases of a development.
- Litter and filth accumulating along Lansdown Road amidst piles of sand. During windy weather conditions the ensuing dust storm engulfed the entire community. There is no evidence of screening/covering the stock piles of sand and building material to minimise emissions. This amounts to gross negligence on the part of the developer.
- The community was not assured that the dust fallout was free of toxic chromium as there are reports that the Clairwood turf club once was used to dispose toxic chromium waste from the Bayer factory in Merebank.
Erosion of the social and cultural fabric of communities:
The community is deeply concerned that the increased trucking activity will catalyse the erosion of the social and cultural fabric of communities. The case of the neglect, decay and death of the social fabric of the Clairwood business and residential community is a case in point. Port related activity such as logistics parks are land intensive development which come with significant social and environmental impacts. Developers related to port activity will go at lengths to acquire more and more land in the process destroying stable neighbourhoods and societies. Government intervention and strict planning arrangements is required to manage this.
High Court Action:
The local community represented through the Clairwood Racecourse Action Committee has opposed the development. The Committee appealed the EIA record of decision. At the last High Court hearing, the Judge requested the government to come up with a solution to the issues raised by the community. The next appeal hearing is on the 11 December 2017. Please support the community opposition to this development.
JOIN US ON:
- 3rd December 2017 – MASS PUBLIC MEETING at Merebank Community Centre from 17:00pm – 19:00pm
- 9th December 2017 – MASS PROTEST ACTION at CLAIRWOOD RACECOURSE from 09:00AM – 12:00PM
- 11th December 2017 – CLAIRWOOD COURT CASE, DURBAN HIGH COURT 09:00am -12:00pm
For more information call 031 461 1991 /contact firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU WAIT UNTIL IT AFFECTS YOU, IT WILL BE TOO LATE!