Residents say ‘no’ to sand mining application

The land earmarked for sand mining.

It was a big fat no from residents when they heard details about the application to mine sand in Strandfontein.

Residents filled the church tent in Seafarer Drive, Bay View on Wednesday October 25 during a public meeting held witht Ward 43 councillor and Sub-council 23 chairperson Elton Jansen.

They slammed the City of Cape Town for not informing them about the application earlier. Mr Jansen said it is only in the application stage but that the land has been earmarked.

According to the Chand Environmental Consultants public document; Atlantic Sands (Pty) Ltd is proposing to mine 12.02ha of land on Erf 21202 in Strandfontein. The proposed sand mine will solely entail the dry mining of sand for sale to the local construction industry. It is anticipated that mining of the site would last four to five years.

Atlantic Sands (Pty) Ltd has been mining sand at their Philippi Mine site on the Cape Flats since 2009 and are making the mining right application to extend their mining operations on the Cape Flats.

It stated that a full Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment (S&EIA) process is required and the mining right and S&EIA applications will go to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), who is the decision-maker.

The site is located on vacant land at the corner of Spine Road and Vesuvius Avenue in Strandfontein. The site is zoned agricultural and is earmarked for new urban infill in terms of the 2012 Spatial Development Plan for the Cape Flats.

The document further states that the site is a Critical Biodiversity Area (CBA) in terms of the City of Cape Town Bionet data for 2017.

The site is owned by the City of Cape Town and the landscape comprises of undulating dunes typically running northwest to southeast which are vegetated by Cape Flats Dune Strandveld.

An angry Chantel Steer lives opposite the site, in Vesuvius Avenue in San Remo, in the same road as the Telkom Building.

Ms Steer said she does not want any sand mining on her doorstep.

“I am totally against sand mining, it will give us nothing but headaches. What about the traffic in the area, which will consist of trucks and construction vehicles. Is this safe for residents and children? We have asked on numerous occasions for speed humps on this road, but it fell on deaf ears.

“Another thing, this land was earmarked in 2012, why are we only hearing about it now? Something isn’t right, but as a community we oppose this application,” she said.

Bay View resident Mario Oostendurp said there are endangered plants on the land, and is concerned about the environment.

“Something like this cannot be approved without community engagement, and we are saying no. It will not benefit anyone but those who are involved. So, according to the document, they will dig and replant when they leave. Really? That will happen? We are not silly, and would like to hear from officials about this site and the application,” he said.

Junaide Hoosain, a former ward councillor, said in Westridge sand mining was cancelled because the community stood up, he encouraged residents to stand together and fight the battle.

Mareldia Touhlehy, from Bay View, said: “I feel the pain of the community. What about our environment and the importance of protecting our indigenous plants. We have a beautiful area, we have the sea, and plants. We will fight until the bitter end and we hope government hears our opposition and take it seriously,” she said.

Other concerns raised were that Stranfontein will become a dumping ground for development and will not benefit the community, and that the vibrations from mining activities will have an impact on their housing.

Hearing the community’s comments on the application, Mr Jansen encouraged residents to comment on the document by the Thursday November 9 deadline.

“Atlantic Sands came to me recently, and I will explain to them what the concerns are but we need residents to comment on the report highlighting the concerns too,” he said.

Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south, said sand mining requires approval from Department of Mineral Resources to mine. In addition, it also requires environmental authorisation from the Western Cape Government’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) and permission from the City’s development management department regarding land use.

He said statutory processes require public participation.

“A sand mining permit application needs to be submitted to the national Department of Mineral Resources and the necessary processes will be followed, including obtaining the City’s input, to inform their final decision.The City’s development management department has not received a land use application related to the mining application in Strandfontein,” he said.

The Plainsman questioned the City of Cape Town about the step after the application process, Mr Andrews said when an application is received and considered complete, it will be advertised as per the City’s Notification Policy to interested and affected parties. He said any resident can take the opportunity to provide comment during the 30-day advertising period.

Residents can contact Mellissa McJames, Chand Environmental Consultants, on 021 762 3050 or email
mellissa@chand.co.za