Students suffer in St Francis Bay

Construction has been halted on Sea Vista the new primary School due to the lack of a formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The EIA should have been requested by either the Department Roads and Public Works (Eastern Cape Province) or the implementing agent (Coega Development Corporation) before the contract for the construction was awarded.

This is a project worth around R 31 million, the contractor is already on site and this stoppage will inevitably lead to increased costs to the Department.

A basic assessment has been done but it will take the Department of Environmental Affairs + 7 weeks to come to a decision on the assessment.

In a meeting with the relevant departments on 22 March 2012 it came to our attention that the Department Roads and Public Works is worried about the ongoing cost of this project and accusing Kouga Municipality for not keeping to their agreement made in 1999.

The Department Roads and Public Works is also considering building the Sea Vista Primary School on erf 400 in St Francis Bay as a second option.

The facts are that the transfer of erf 400 for the new site along Tarragona Road was not finalized, thus the municipality cannot be accused of not keeping to their promises. Erf 400 is + 1.7 kilometres from Sea Vista and is not the preferred site for a primary school for Sea Vista.

The community really need this school as soon as possible, so it is in everyone’s interest to see to it that we can proceed as soon as possible.

We hope to see the Record of Decision (ROD) from the Department of Environmental Affairs in the near future as it is only once we have this document that we can understand what conditions the Department will set before the work can re-commence.

For example we are pretty certain they will demand adequate storm water drainage as some of this land is deemed to be wetland. We all know that drainage is a serious problem in the whole of Sea Vista.

A final decision on the future of Sea Vista Primary School will only be taken on a next meeting on 11 April 2012.

The question is why should the community of Sea Vista be punished if Government Departments did not follow the correct procedures?

Ben Rheeder


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