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Big plans for De Mond afoot

The neglected campsite of De Mond Caravan Park could soon receive a new lease on life if everything goes well with the project’s public participation process.

The Overstrand Municipality awarded a tender to the Pohl Property Development Group, which listed the project better known as “The Crown Grant” under its future projects list.

This tender is for the development of the De Mond site, situated on Erf 5327 and a portion of Erf 4831, Voëlklip for the purpose of a public resort on the basis of a long-term lease.

Long road ahead

Bianca da Silva, Project Administrator from the Pohl Property Developement Group, explained it is difficult to estimate when construction of the project will start.

She said: “Not only do we need to secure the rights, we will also need to secure tenants, hotel operators and investors and work with market conditions and the economy. We envision the project will be phased and each phase developed as the demand arises. We have met with multiple potential hotel operators to operate the hotel, all with different requirements and needs. We need to ensure that we appoint the most suitable operator in order to ensure success of the development.”

Da Silva explained that they are also aware that there has been political unrest in Hermanus and this all adds pressure to locating potential investors.

“Economists are projecting the markets to contract and South Africa may even enter a recession in 2019,” she said. “This has applied weight to locating individuals and companies that want to invest in a struggling economy.

“There are so many more factors to consider, crime rates in the Western Cape which have seen international tourists being attacked has resulted in a decline of international tourists travelling to the Cape. Considering the market for this development will also largely cater to international tourists this is definitely a factor to consider in terms of when the right time is to develop. Nevertheless, we are working forward and remain positive to make this development successful for all parties involved.”

Plans for hotel, conference facilities and holiday accommodation

Municipal Manager Coenie Groenewald says that the lessee submitted an application for consent use (for the development of a hotel) which requires prior municipal approval as well as approval of a Site Development Plan (SDP) in accordance with the provisions of Sections 16(2)(O) and (G) of the Overstand Municipal Land Use Planning Bylaw, 2015.

“A SDP is a scaled, dimensioned plan indicating detail of the proposed development for approval by the municipality and is required in terms of the zoning scheme regulations,” he said.

“In this regard the proposed SDP provides among others for the proposed hotel, conference facilities, holiday accommodation, tourist and recreational facilities, dwelling units, place of entertainment, restaurant, shop and office component, place of assembly and parking areas.”

Public participation

The notice of the public participation process was given in the local newspapers of 31 July. Details of the proposal are available for inspection during weekdays between 08:00 and 16:30 at the Department: Town Planning, 16 Patterson Street, Hermanus. Any written comments must be submitted in accordance with the provisions of Sections 51 and 52 of the said bylaw to the Municipality (16 Patterson Street, Hermanus – 028 313 2093; aconradie@overstrand.gov.za by Friday 6 September, quoting name, address, contact details and interest in the application as well as reasons for comment. Telephonic enquiries can be made to the Senior Town Planner, S van der Merwe at 028 313 8900.

Budget

According to Da Silva, the quantity surveyors are working on a feasibility study for an average construction cost of approximately R575 million. “This is obviously subject to change,” she said, “as the cost is determined by what we envision as finishing details and specifications. Tenants or investors may have alternative recommendations which will effect this price.”

Local labour and contractors

Da Silva explains the project and all its phases will go out on tender. “We would like to make use of local labour and contractors where we can and support the Hermanus economy,” she adds.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The applicant is having an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted. “This can be done in parallel with the planning application” said Groenewald. “The municipality has not received any correspondence from the consultant regarding the status of the EIA process, however a public participation process must be followed. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) who is the authority for EIA’s will give guidelines on which specialist studies will have to be conducted in term of the EIA process. No development may start without an Environmental Authorization from Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.”

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