Council condemns 3 000 city stands

Land developer in poor servicing No paperwork to council from start to finish ELIZABETH MASHIRI MIDLANDS BUREAU GWERU – Gweru City ...

  • Land developer in poor servicing
  • No paperwork to council from start to finish

Gweru City Council has refused to commission 3 000 Woodlands stands serviced by one of the city's largest property developers because the work there is allegedly substandard and sewerage flows back into houses.
Both Gweru City Council and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) have condemned the housing project, according to senior officials who spoke to The Mirror.
The City Council says it is not going to connect Woodlands to the city's water and sewerage system although hundreds of residents are understood to have bought stands and some have already built houses under the scheme.
Council engineer, Robson Manatsa told The Mirror that there would be no connections until all problems are rectified.
He said that council has not received any paperwork including plans from the developers from the start of the project to the finish  although some residents have already built houses on the stands.
River Valley Properties director, Smelly Dube exploded when asked for a comment by The Mirror and threatened to sue the newspaper if it went ahead and published the story.
However, EMA provincial manager, Milton Muusha has told The Mirror that River Valley Properties was recently fined $7 000 for implementing a prescribed project without an environmental impact assessment.
River Valley Properties is probably one of the biggest property developers in Gweru with a housing scheme comprising 6 000 residential stands. Half of its stands (3 000) have already been commissioned under Phase 1 of the project but the City engineer said that the commissioning and connection of the  First phase to the water system was done on humanitarian basis because residents had already built homes and were staying on the stands.
He said the First Phase was therefore also condemned.
Manatsa said there was no way that the remaining 3 000 stands under Phase Two were going to be commissioned.
EMA complains that River Valley Properties did not get clearance certificate to start developing the housing project from the agency as is required by the law and the housing scheme was also developed near the City's Dump site.
Muusha said all the work done by the developer is deemed to be substandard because the plan has no clearance certificate in the first place.
"Land development projects can only begin after getting an inspection and approval from EMA. EMA was supposed to do an environmental impact assessment and come up with a management plan for all negative environmental impacts.
"Procedure was not followed and we now find that the servicing is not only substandard but the stands have been developed near the City's dump site. Sewer is also flowing back to the residential areas. These problems could have been been picked up and corrected before beneficiaries started building houses had procedure been followed," said Muusha.
Engineer Manatsa complained that Council was not involved in the inspection of the housing project from start to finish as is required.
"Council was not involved in that project from the start. The developer is now putting pressure on council to connect services but we are not doing that until we are satisfied with their work. The same happened with Woodlands Phase One where the same land developer did not do work properly and council ended up connecting services on humanitarian grounds because there were people already living there," said Manatsa
However Dube insisted that the project was completed to the satisfaction of council.
"We are the only land developers who have done a good job at Woodlands, how can you say our services are not up to standard? I will sue you, write whatever you want but l will sue you," said Dube.
She claimed that the project had already been handed over to the City Council but the engineer refuted the claim.
"The project has not been handed over to council, we are still meeting with the land developers, we are going to inspect everything and if they meet council standards we move on but if they do not, the developer will be asked to make rectifications," said Manatsa.
He said that River Valley has already been asked to rectify its sewer system because it was flowing back to residential areas. Top story news



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The Mirror: Council condemns 3 000 city stands
Council condemns 3 000 city stands
The Mirror
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