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