GEORGE NEWS - The proposed hotel and commercial development along the waterfront of the Garden Route Dam has another chance to become a reality.
George Municipality, owner of the land, succeeded in its application for extension of the five-year period for which the environmental approval was valid. Approval would have lapsed in 2019, but in February the Western Cape department of environmental affairs and development planning (DEADP) granted extension till 16 September 2024.
The person responsible for the environmental authorisation was also amended from Stiaan Carstens, former town planner at the municipality, to the municipal manager, Trevor Botha. Appeals may be lodged till middle March.
When the proposed waterfront development became public in 2012, it was met with significant opposition from residents. The original application included a large residential component, including group housing and social housing, which the DEADP rejected.
Environmental groups like the Kat River Friends and Gardag (Garden Route Dam Action Group) aired concern over runoff from hard surfaces and possible sewage spills which they said would threaten water security. Others, who frequent the area for doing sport and enjoying the outdoors, were upset at the prospect of the natural surroundings becoming a built-up area.
The municipality has recently also started a rezoning process of the dam area to accommodate tertiary training institutions that have expressed interest in settling in George.
A prescribed appeal form pertaining to the extension of the validity period is available by phoning 021 483 3721 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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