Ecologically Sensitive Knysna quarry rezoning allegedly based on Misinformation

Ecologically Sensitive Knysna quarry rezoning allegedly based on Misinformation

9 April 2002

ANC Spokesperson on Planning, Garth Strachan MPL, has expressed grave concern at unfolding evidence of apparent misinformation concerning the rezoning of the controversial Phantom Quarry in Knysna.

Affidavits and documentation received suggest that the Knysna Council took the decision to allow industrial zoning rights on the basis of an untrue representation: that at the time of the implementation of the Land Use Planning Ordinance [LUPO] in June 1986, the quarry was already involved in industrial activity. This is apparently untrue, affidavits indicate that industrial activity occurred only between 1995 Ė 97.

Strachan said: "The Phantom Quarry is an ecologically sensitive and valuable site. The Phantom Pass Conservancy appealed against the DP controlled Knysna Councilís decision to the Provincial Minister in early March. The mine had allegedly encroached on the national road reserve and the new industrial zoning would impact on the environment and associated tourism and job opportunities in the area.

"A quarrying license was given to the operator of the Phantom Quarry without an Environment Management Programme Report [EMPR] or conditional zoning. The operator has taken advantage of this apparent oversight and subsequently obtained industrial rezoning.

"The suggestion that the rezoning will secure industrial jobs at the Quarry is spurious. This work must simply be moved to an appropriately zoned site.

"The new evidence indicates that the DP controlled Knysna Council in fact acted on misinformation when rezoning the quarry. I have alerted the Provincial Minister to this new evidence to consider in the appeal and informed the National Minister of the absence of an EMPR.

"The Knysna Council has rezoned the Quarry based on incorrect information and without regard for the local ecology or tourism potential of the area. The ANC believes that the Provincial Ministerís finding in the appeal will highlight the need for better management of the some 300 quarries in the Western Cape.

"We cannot allow the exploitation of our environment and poor consideration of longer term developmental needs to continue. The Phantom Quarry must become a precedent for good planning and not the precedent for further degradation and exploitation."

For further input, please contact Garth Strachan MPL on 487 1740 or 083 454 6667 and Alan McVitty, Chairperson of the Phantom Pass Conservancy on 082 569 8999.

Issued by:
African National Congress - Western Cape