Fresh questions over River Club actions



22-06-2022
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Cape Town - Questions have been raised about the legality of developers, the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust’s (LLPT) intentions to commence with “riverine rehabilitation and remedial activity” on the River Club site while they wait for the outcome of their application for leave to appeal before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).



Western Cape High Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath had interdicted construction on the site pending review proceedings, saying the fact that the development has economic benefits can never override the fundamental rights of the First Nations People - which was under threat if the development was allowed to proceed.



Earlier this month, the LLPT had filed an urgent application for leave to appeal in the SCA against Goliath’s decision.



In a statement on Monday, LLPT trustee and spokesperson James Tannenberger said: “Today, remedial work will commence on the River Club site in Observatory, Cape Town. This follows the rehabilitation work that commenced last month on the riverine areas surrounding the property in order to carry out work approved in the environmental and municipal planning authorisations and to mitigate any public health, environment and safety risks in the current rainy season.”



He said the work would include rehabilitation of the riverine corridor and re-naturalising a 25 to 40-metre eco-corridor extending along the Liesbeek River and merging with the confluence of the Black River.



“The work on the River Club property will continue lawfully, and pending determination of LLPT’s leave to appeal application, which is pending before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), and any appeal that may or will follow,” said Tannenberger.



The Liesbeek Action Campaign (LAC) said nothing that was approved by the City’s rezoning or the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning’s environmental authorisation is “legal at this point” as the interdict remained in place.



“It is not clear what Mr Tannenberger is describing and whether it is legal or not, no matter what he claims. Nothing that was approved by the City’s rezoning or the DEADP Environmental Authorisation is legal at this point, so any claim that ‘work approved in the environmental and municipal planning authorisations’ is legal is incorrect,” said the LAC’s, Professor Leslie London.



“He knows as much if he is advised by his lawyers. He may be saying that in order to pretend they are not precluded from proceeding with the construction – which is very much the case. If he is referring to work required to prevent flood damage as a result of their premature infill of the river and infill of the floodplain, that is not the same as “work approved in the environmental and municipal planning authorisations.”

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