Sani Pass Hotel development proposal

12 Oct 2021 22:23 - 12 Oct 2021 23:29 #77195 by intrepid
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is in progress for a massive development at the Sani Pass Hotel.

The details of the proposal can be read in the attached "Draft Scoping Report". Because the document is lengthy, a summary list of the kind of structures the hotel wants is included here. The scale of the proposed development is very large, more than just a few upgrades to existing structures. It includes entire new villages.

Village A – Freestanding units:
- Gate house
- 19 freestanding 3 / 4 bedroom units between 180 and 270 m2

Village B – Hotel suites:
- Gate house (to be confirmed)
- Pedestrian link to commercial area
- 14 x 2 bed apartments
- 34 x 3 bedroom apartments
- 2 x 4 bedroom apartments
 
Village C – Apartment blocks and freestanding units – fractional ownership units:
- Proposed gate house
- 18 Apartment blocks (9 type D blocks, 9 type E blocks)
- 30 Freestanding units (18 x 3 bedroom, 12 x 4 bedroom units)
- (total unit types – 36 x 2 bedroom, 90 x 3 bedroom, 12 x 4 bedroom = 138 units)

Village D – freestanding units – fractional ownership units:
- Gate house (to be confirmed)
- 25 freestanding units – 7 x 2 bedroom, 12 x 3 bedroom, 6 x 4 bedroom

Commercial node:
- Vehicle entrance
- Filling station
- Filling station shop
- Service area
- Service road
- Feature tower
- Veranda
- Specialty retail
- Craft retail
- Ablutions
- Courtyard
- Coffee shop
- Restaurant
- Outdoor seating area
- Children’s play area
- Water collection tank.
- Pedestrian link to resort
- Parking area
- New day spa
- Conference facilities
- Extension to golf course.
- Bridal suite (to be confirmed)

Hotel up-grade:
- New club house
- New hotel wing
- A Porte Corchere

Other:
- Staff Village
- Upgraded Water Treatment Works
- New Sewage Treatment Facility
- River crossings – multiple to service the expanded golf course

 

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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Last edit: 12 Oct 2021 23:29 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ghaznavid, ASL, TheRealDave, grae22

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13 Oct 2021 00:09 #77197 by intrepid
The process falls into two stages, “Scoping” and “Impact Assessment” (IA).

The aim of the scoping is to state clearly what the proposed development is in detail, and then to identify areas of concern where there might be negative impacts caused should the development go ahead. First the consultants prepare a “Draft Scoping Report”, the public get a chance to look at it and provide comments, these are then taken into account in preparing the “Final Scoping Report” and all comments also form part of the report.

The impact assessment phase then looks at each of the potential impacts, often through the conducting of a specialist study. Once all studies have been completed, a draft IA report is produced, again for public comment and such comments are taken into account as well as forming part of the final report. This then goes to the relevant authority (usually the Department of Environment) who go through it all, evaluate the arguments and hand down a decision.

 

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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13 Oct 2021 00:46 #77198 by intrepid
One of the major concerns with the proposed development is that it falls within the Buffer Zone of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park Wold Heritage Site. The objectives of the Buffer Zone are summarised as:
- Ensure the persistence of important species and ecological processes
- Promote broad based and sustainable economic activity
- Preserve, adapt, restore and stabilize cultural heritage and secure the sustainable use thereof
- Preserve and improve the quantity and quality of water from catchments in the park and buffer zone.
- Protect, enhance and restore the unique and memorable character and sense of place – that underpins the image of the UDP WHS and its approaches.
- Protect and enhance the wilderness experience of park users.      

Readers will recall that one of the main reasons the Drakensberg was awarded it's World Heritage Status was for it's untouched natural beauty. The Buffer Zone is a requirement for maintaining this heritage status, and has to serve to protect the very reasons that led to awarding the heritage status. The concern is that the proposed development is not compatible with the Buffer Zone and that it will significantly alter the character of the area - and that this in turn can jeopardise the World Heritage Status of the neighbouring park. In addition the issues which also have to be taken into consideration are:
- water supply (currently it comes from a small stream on the property, it is suggested to take water from the Mkomazana)
- sewage systems are ineffective for the current hotel, how can this be done properly for such a massive scale development?
- noise and light pollution will impact on neighbours, the Park and the whole vicinity
- security, especially during what would be a lengthy construction phase, not only for the Sani Pass road, but the district as a whole
- waste disposal

Additionally, the owners of the hotel - the Premier Group - appear to be proposing the same major development which has failed to proceed through the whole EIA process on two previous occasions, and which were not approved by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife on those occasions.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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13 Oct 2021 01:10 - 13 Oct 2021 01:10 #77199 by intrepid
Comments from the public can be submitted under the current draft Scoping phase, which will be taken into account for the final version of the Scoping Report. However, these comments have to be submitted by Monday, 18 October 2021.

Comments can be submitted by anyone, and can simply be emailed to Roxanne van Rooyen of Green Door Environmental:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Sani Wildlife branch of WESSA have suggested that everyone can make the following two points:
  • We are not opposed to the Hotel improving itself and even expanding
  • We are totally opposed however to a development of this magnitude which goes beyond any improvement of addition, rather it aims to create cluster villages and a commercial node in an area bordering the World heritage Site. This will threaten the very existence of the World Heritage Site as it is in conflict with the UNESCO principles governing the site. Should it go ahead, there is a very real danger of the Drakensberg being stripped of its World Heritage Status.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 13 Oct 2021 01:10 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: tonymarshall, HAC

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13 Oct 2021 07:27 #77202 by intrepid
Members can also contact Dominic Wieners from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife if you have any specific questions on the proposal as he will be the point of contact from Ezemvelo submitting comments to the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. His email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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13 Oct 2021 09:26 #77203 by domsmooth
Yes, members are welcome to contact me on my work email address if you have any specific questions on the project, or any other concerns about developments in close proximity to the WHS which may have visual intrusion into the wilderness areas etc

Lets all help maintain the values for which the Berg was proclaimed a World Heritage Site

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