…as dispute over conditions escalates
A township development that private developers has earmarked for the Aris area located 15 kilometers south of Windhoek has ruffled feathers between the property developers, Environmental Commissioner and the Windhoek municipality.
The respondent represented by Weder, Kauta and Hoveka law firm opposed the appeal lodged by Auas Valley Residents Association against the decision of the Environment Commissioner to grant an environment clearance certificate.
Harmony Mountain Village and Residents of Tranquillity are cited as second and third appellants respectively. In June 2007, the Township’s Board recommended the establishment of Ziveli on certain conditions namely the need to use every available and suitable level area of land and they further highlighted the importance of densification to avoid land wastage.
In Government notice No. 268 in the Government Gazette it was noted that the developer must be able to finance the provision of urban services.
According to sources, the major dispute is related to density and the jurisdiction of the Environmental Commisioner.
Documents also indicate that, “Appellants are self-serving in that they are concerned about the number of people that will live there which may have an effect on their lifestyle as opposed to the impact on the environment.”
‘Those who have holdings there, don’t want others there’, according to our source. The development will consist of 94 single residential units, six general residential plots with the capacity for 189 units, a staff village of 15 units, a town lodge and a small business centre.
The developers added that the township is one of the settlement options aimed at addressing rampant urbanisation while at the same time providing housing for the increasing City population.
Regarding public access, a ‘reserved rights’ principle will be used to outsiders.
“There will be an access control, similar to other housing estates on the perimeter of Windhoek.
There will be one high density site with a density of 1/150 square meters for flats,” the township’s visual landscape assessment report indicates.
In a letter addressed to Environment and Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta on 10 October 2017, Dirk Oosthuizen said the township has an estimated value in excess of N$650 million.
“It is without doubt one of the largest private sector housing initiatives in the current economic climate in and around Windhoek,” he said. Oosthuizen told Shifeta that it took close to a decade to obtain all allowances, consents and financing for the mega project.
According to Dirk Oosthuizen from Square Foot Developers, the project will bring more than N$100 million worth of construction work into the economy during the first phase. Oosthuizen adds that a further N$500 million will be pumped into the next five to seven years.
“We have followed all the right procedures and have all the required allowances, agreements and consents in place.
It took more than 10 years of negotiations, planning and fighting, and a huge amount of capital, yet we can still not start on site,” bemoaned Oosthuizen.
He added: “By the appeal against a legitimately obtained EIA, we are thrown yet another unreasonable hurdle to overcome, and are expected to bear the associated costs which such a delay brings with it.”
Oosthuizen said although the appeal does not make the EIA void, financial institutions refuse to release any funds for the development.
He also complained that the holding cost brought upon by the appeal have become unbearable.
Another impediment to the multi-million township deal is the extension of the City boundaries in 2011 which states that all land withing the extended boundary area is now under the jurisdiction of the City of Windhoek and subject to local authority by-laws.
This means the land on which the proposed township is to be built falls within the jurisdiction of the City of Windhoek.
It is understood that since the approval for the township construction was granted before the City boundaries were extended, the township should therefore not have to comply to the municipality’s rules and regulations.
The Patriot understands the CoW is contemplating doing a town planning scheme for the whole extended area.
This is because a determination has to be made in terms of services required and more specifically the waste management process.
Documents seen by this newspaper indicate that the zoning of the township known as Ziveli should be included in the Aris Amendment Scheme.
Some of the conditions attached to the environmental clearance certificate include the inclusion of a monitoring programme for the early detection of possible contamination of groundwater and soil.
Another condition set out is that no general residential unit will be developed with more than two stories or with more than three bedrooms each.
The density of the residential units must also not be less than 1/300 square meters.
The matter is expected to appear in the High Court next month on 6 July in front of Judge Harald Geier.