Controversial Langebaan property development gets green light

Construction of a controversial upmarket housing development in Shark Bay, on the West Coast, could begin as early as next year after developer Riccardo Scarpellini successfully appealed against the provincial government's decision to turn down an application to develop the area.

Peter Pullen, spokesperson for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell, confirmed that the development had been granted environmental approval at the beginning of the month.

Scarpellini told the Cape Argus yesterday that he was relieved.

"After so many years, finally the minister [Bredell] approved. We got it right. We hope to begin with construction as soon as possible...sometime next year."

The waterfront site is located between Langebaan and the West Coast National Park.
Last year the provincial Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Department refused to grant environmental authorisation for the development as it did not meet "sustainable development requirements".

The property was also covered with natural vegetation, including critically endangered species which were necessary for the provincial department to meet national targets for sustainable management of biodiversity.

At the time more than 2 000 objections to the development were collected by residents under the Langebaan Action Group.

Jaco Kotze, the chairman of the Langebaan Ratepayers' Association, said yesterday the body was "completely shocked by the decision".

"We are not happy with the outcome because the department had agreed with us and now the MEC is turning around," Kotze said.

He said the ratepayers' association was studying the documents and would decide whether to accept or challenge the decision in court afterwards.

"We are not going to make a hasty emotional decision, but we definitely have a few questions."
Kotze said the development application was only one aspect of their case since Scarpellini had also put a boom and fences on the old White Road along the lagoon, which gave the public access to Shark Bay. He said they took Scarpelini to court over that decision and it was still pending.

(Cape Argus)

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