Cedros residents mobilising to stop developer

Works are con­tin­u­ing in the Tre­strail Es­tate at Granville Vil­lage, Ce­dros, fol­low­ing re­ports that a land de­vel­op­er had blocked wa­ter­cours­es and bull­dozed forests in the penin­su­la.

This fol­lows an ex­clu­sive Guardian Me­dia re­port on Mon­day which showed that the ex­ca­va­tion of 64 acres of for­est land near the Granville Beach had posed se­ri­ous risks to the Granville ceme­tery and the aquifer.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view on Mon­day, landown­er Vin­cent Ram­per­sad said res­i­dents were now mo­bil­is­ing to take le­gal ac­tion against the de­vel­op­er.

“This sto­ry has opened a Pan­do­ra’s box. Peo­ple who owned land here but did not know what was hap­pen­ing, are now com­ing to see if their lands have been en­croached,” Ram­per­sad said.

He added that a com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment will be done over the next few days. The En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­i­ty has al­so ini­ti­at­ed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the project. Ram­per­sad said it ap­peared as if work on the site had stopped.

Chair­man of the Siparia Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion Dr Glenn Ra­mad­hars­ingh said the cor­po­ra­tion had the pow­er to is­sue work stop no­tices to the de­vel­op­er once it is found that he had con­tra­vened stip­u­lat­ed guide­lines.

Con­tact­ed for com­ment as to whether they had stopped work on the site, Anand Go­sine, nephew of land de­vel­op­er Deo Go­sine, said works were con­tin­u­ing.

“Why will we stop work? We have a Cer­tifi­cate of En­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance from the EMA,” Go­sine said.

He not­ed that they were plan­ning a meet­ing with the com­mu­ni­ty to dis­cuss their con­cerns. He said the de­vel­op­er was will­ing to meet with the cor­po­ra­tion and im­ple­ment rec­om­men­da­tions.

Coun­cil­lor for Ce­dros Shankar Teelucks­ingh said the de­vel­op­er could face charges if in­ves­ti­ga­tions proved the de­vel­op­er had flout­ed en­vi­ron­men­tal laws and failed to heed the rec­om­men­da­tions from the EMA, cor­po­ra­tion and Town and Coun­try Plan­ning.

“Based on in­ves­ti­ga­tions from the build­ing en­gi­neer we will have to see what is the ap­proved drainage plan from Town and Coun­try. We await rec­om­men­da­tions from the EMA be­fore we give fi­nal ap­proval. So far, no ap­proved doc­u­ments have been sub­mit­ted to the cor­po­ra­tion,” Teelucks­ingh claimed.

The EMA has con­firmed that the CEC was grant­ed for the de­vel­op­ment of 64.49 acres of land at Coro­man­del Road, Granville Beach, Ce­dros.

Say­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions were now on­go­ing to de­ter­mine whether there were any breach­es, the EMA said it had a re­spon­si­bil­i­ty un­der Sec­tion 37 of the EMA Act, to mon­i­tor the per­for­mance of any ac­tiv­i­ty to en­sure com­pli­ance with any con­di­tions in the cer­tifi­cate.”

“To this end, the Au­thor­i­ty has mon­i­tored the spe­cif­ic ac­tiv­i­ty via meet­ings, site vis­its and pe­ri­od­ic re­ports,” the au­thor­i­ty said.

Be­tween June and No­vem­ber 2018, the EMA said it con­duct­ed site vis­its and met with the de­vel­op­er and was ad­vised that all works had ceased in Au­gust 2018.

The EMA said it will con­tin­ue to ac­tive­ly mon­i­tor all works at this de­vel­op­ment site, to en­sure com­pli­ance with the terms and con­di­tions of the cer­tifi­cate.

“This in­cludes the mon­i­tor­ing of mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures for en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts to near­by re­cep­tors,” the EMA added.

Reporter: Kristian De Silva

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