Images show size of Plett harbour plan

John Harvey

IMAGES of the proposed small boat development in Plettenberg Bay have emerged, only weeks after the final scoping report for the R4-billion project was released, and these have not been well-received by some who believe it will change the face of the town.

The images were commissioned by the Save Plett Alliance, which approached a Johannesburg-based architectural firm to create the renderings in an attempt to show the size and scope of the project.

On releasing the final scoping report earlier this month, Dr Mike Cohen, of the CEN IEM Unit which did the environmental impact assessment (EIA), had mentioned the response to the proposed development had been overwhelming, with opposition coming mainly from affluent residents and supporters drawn from disadvantaged communities.

The drawings are now being circulated by way of a brochure to the people of Bitou.

The Save Plett Alliance argues the development will change the character of the Plettenberg Bay strand, proposed for Central Beach and the Piesang River Estuary.

Alliance representative Basil van Rooyen said the images showed the developer’s plans, including 482 residential units, a 110-room five-star hotel and a yacht club, overlaid on photographs of the area in question.

“It is clear this is not simply a quaint little harbour but a major urban development. The renderings are as accurate as could be done with the information at our disposal,” he said.

However, he added the renderings did not go into detail about the style of the buildings, simply their scale and positioning.

Plettenberg Bay resident Bianca van Staden was “appalled” after seeing the renderings.

“Sies! If this is what it is going to look like it will diminish the character of Plett. I am all in favour of change but this is simply too drastic,” she said.

Siena Damane, who lives in nearby Kholweni, said she was also worried the project would spoil the aesthetics of the beachfront.

“It really does not look good. It is vieslik [awful].”

The project is envisaged to create some 960 jobs (460 direct) for each year of construction. These jobs would be allocated to members of previously disadvantaged local communities.

However, the final scoping report says as a result of the development there could be a reduction in diversity of estuarine biota like steenbras. In addition, it suggests water could become contaminated by fuel, oil and concrete during development.

Interested parties have until January 17 to comment on the final scoping report.

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