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Liesbeek trust argues against halt to project

LLPT argued that development wouldn't result in the ’irreparable damage’ to the River Club site and its associated cultural heritage.

LLPT argued that development wouldn't result in the ’irreparable damage’ to the River Club site and its associated cultural heritage.

Published Jan 21, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - On the second day of the Western Cape High Court hearing into the River Club redevelopment, the first respondents, the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust ( LLPT) presented arguments opposing a halt on the project.

The 15-hectare parcel of ancestral indigenous land in question is envisaged for Amazon’s new African headquarters.

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The applicants, the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council and the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) seek to restrain the LLPT from carrying out any further works in relation to the development at the River Club site, pending review of the relevant environmental and land use authorisations.

On Wednesday argued that HWC advised the LLPT that its Second Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), with its supplement, did not meet the requirements of section 38(3) of the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA), which outlines the requirements for a HIA.

“The HWCs overriding concern was that the Second HIA had not accounted for the intangible significance of the site flowing from its historical associations, and that the assessment was consequently flawed,” the applicants argued.

On Thursday LLPT argued that development wouldn't result in the “irreparable damage" to the River Club site and its associated cultural heritage.

LLPT advocate, Sean Rosenberg argued: “If it’s absolutely unlawful, the sooner it stops the better but this is not such a case. This is a case where your ladyship (judge Patricia Goliath) will be so struck by the lack of eminent harm to a right which needs to be protected and secondly so struck by the remarkable disparity in outcomes that your ladyship will say that the review and the merits of the review are for another day.”

“It is also not correct that the authors of the July 2019 HIA were ’supportive of the proposed development’, without significant mitigation of the impacts in as much as the identified heritage resources on and surrounding the site warranted. This pertained both to the rehabilitation and remaking of the Liesbeek riverine corridor, in particular, and to the articulation of the proposed built form. These mitigations were, as argued in the HIA and its supplement, adequate and appropriate for both the protection of the heritage resources in question and for the appropriate growth, change and inevitable densification of the city,” the respondents further argued in court papers.

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“It is denied that the Dec. 2019 HIA Supplement or the River Club First Nations report was defective or otherwise inadequate.”

The matter continues.

Cape Times

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