The row over the controversial R4 billion planned small boat harbour at Plettenberg Bay is hotting up after three-dimensional graphic renderings of the development started circulating through the region.
|Plettenberg Bay beachfront as it currently appears.|
This comes just weeks after the final scoping report for the 87 000 sqm development by Western Cape Marina Investments was released and highlighted major environmental and economic concerns. The project will stretch from the Piesang River estuary and along the town's popular central beach.
The developers are adamant that the renderings are inaccurate.
The development is set to include 482 residential units, 1343 sqm of office space, a 110 room 5-star hotel, mansions, 8 700 sqm retail space, a plaza, a yacht club and more that 2 000 parking bays.
|A rendering of the proposed development.|
The renderings were commissioned by the Save Plett Alliance, formed by the Ratepayers' Association and property owners in the affected area to oppose the development, after many failed attempts to obtain accurate representations of the proposed development from the developers.
The renderings had been done by an architectural firm in Joburg based on the plans of the developer overlaid on photographs of the area, said Save Plett Alliance spokesman Basic van Rooyen.
'It is clear that this is not simply a quaint little harbour but a major urban development,' Van Rooyen said.
Developer Peter Ahern said the images were 'completely inaccurate'.
The renderings show how the face of the popular holiday destination change from a pristine main beach and estuary area to a modern developed area with massive buildings and little of the popular sandy beach remaining.
The photographs and information on the development is being circulated in the form of a brochure and is being distributed by residents and local businessses.
'Just think if they start this, roads will be closed for building, people won't come to the beach or to Plett for holidays, shops and restaurants will close on the beachfront. Can Plett sustain itself for the time it takes to build all this? Because no one wants to deal with all the construction in what is a main road and main beach for two to four years,' said resident Lesley-Anne Beale.
Plettenberg Bay Business Chamber chairman Barrie Ferreira agreed that the development could affect businesses negatively during the construction phase, but said that the project would also bring much-needed economic stimulation.
'The development would mean job creation that we desperately need and our beachfront needs an upgrade.'
Bitou Ward 2 councillor Wayne Craig said the municipality was not obliged to proceed with the project until a detailed and acceptable proposal was submitted and accepted by the council, but that the municipality was obliged to allow the agreed processes to take place.
The council would be guided by 'the best interests of the town and its residents' in making its decision.
Dr Mike Cohen from the Port Elizabeth-based CENIEM Unit, who did the scoping report, said the response to the proposed development had been overwhelming.
Opposition came primarily from the more affluent residents while support came from the disadvantaged communities who saw the project for its job creation potential.
Interested parties have until January 17 to comment on the final report after which a decision will be taken to go ahead or not with an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Garden Route Media