EASTERN Cape environmental affairs officials will this week conduct an inspection of the 3200ha site for the proposed R6-billion "holistic lifestyle estate” Coega Ridge, located between Motherwell and Coega, by Nu-Way Housing Developments.
The inspection follows the company concluding its environmental impact report (EIR) last year and handing it to the department for authorisation to begin work on the project, which includes a mammoth 39000 housing units, most of which will consist of low-cost and subsidy housing for the poor.
Also being decided on by the department are plans for a R900-million waste water treatments works at Coega, which will recycle waste water from areas like Motherwell and possibly the Coega Ridge development, and be used by water-intensive industries within the industrial development zone, such as the smelters and the proposed oil refinery.
Regional department director Leon Els said should no further information be required by the department, officials will consider the merits of the application and come to a decision on the project within three months.
The project has been meticulously planned by Nu-Way over the past six years and has cost the company in excess of R10-million, according to managing director Laki Constantinides.
The company unveiled the project to Bay businesses at an event hosted by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber two weeks ago.
‘[After the site visit] a decision will be taken as to whether the EIR is accepted by the department, or whether any additional information is required. Once the EIR has been accepted it will come to a decision – either positive or negative – within the next two to three months at most,” said Els.
Coega Ridge project head Jordan Mann welcomed the move. "I am pleased to hear that the department has scheduled a site visit for this week. The decision to move rapidly ahead with the evaluation of this much-needed project is very positive.”
Regarding the water treatment works, Coega spokesman Ayanda Vilakazi said the EIA report was being compiled and due for completion early next year. "The proposed waste water treatment works, including an outfall sewer, will cost approximately R900-million and is to be developed in phases, as the flow dictates.
"Construction can only commence once positive environmental authorisation has been issued and the feasibility phase of the project has been completed,” Vilakazi said, adding that it was a metro-funded project.
"The metro has motivated this project to provide additional treatment capacity – to supplement the capacity at the existing Fishwater Flats treatment works and in the Markman sewer – for the Motherwell North residential areas and the Coega IDZ.”
The proposed works would have a treatment capacity of 120 megalitres a day when complete, he said.
To register as an interested or affected party for the EIA currently under way for the Coega waste water treatment works, contact Margot Ladouce on 031-7195534.