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Flood Fears Grip Urban Terminal Project in Curepipe



Flood Fears Grip Urban Terminal Project in Curepipe
Image source: Defi Media

A controversy has arisen over the proposed construction of the Urban Terminal in Curepipe, with the Land Drainage Authority (LDA) and the Ministry of Housing and Land Development at odds over whether the site is a flood-prone area.

The project, which has been shrouded in uncertainty, has sparked a heated debate between the two parties.

The LDA has identified the site designated for the project as a flood-prone area, while the Ministry of Housing and Land Development, under the tutelage of Minister Steven Obeegadoo, disagreed.

The disagreement began when the Ministry of Local Government issued a tender notice on February 28, 2024, which led to a series of recommendations from the LDA.

The LDA identified the site as a flood-prone area, citing concerns about the potential risks of flooding.

However, the Ministry of Housing and Land Development has downplayed these concerns, stating that it is unlikely that the development will encroach on the flood-prone area.

In response to the LDA’s observations, the Ministry of Housing and Land Development has emphasized that the site is 25 acres and 80 perches in size, with only approximately three acres falling within the flood-prone area.

This is representing around 11% of the site. According to the Ministry, the buildings planned for the project must be constructed with generous distances from the highway and roundabouts, making it unlikely that the development will encroach on the flood-prone area.

The Ministry has also sought to reassure the LDA that the site is large enough to accommodate the flood-prone area of three acres without development.

The three acres could be left as open spaces within the project and could be integrated into the design to provide essential functions for sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in urban environments.

The LDA, however, remained adamant that any development on the site must be designed with strict conditions to reduce flood risks.

In its document published on May 22, 2024, the LDA recommended that any excess rainwater generated by the proposed development must be contained on-site and measures must be taken to ensure safety.

The document also recommended surcharging the site by at least 500 mm above road level to prevent water entry and adopting a holistic approach to drainage design based on watershed principles.

The LDA emphasized that any drainage design must ensure that the proposed development does not have a negative impact on downstream areas or surrounding zones.

Furthermore, the LDA recommended that a drainage report signed by a professional engineer must be submitted to its office for review and approval, clearly outlining the impact of the proposed development.

The document also suggested equipping the development with a stormwater harvesting system to contain rainwater within and directing excess water to a safe discharge point.

In addition, the LDA recommended adopting sustainable drainage systems such as “swales” and retention ponds to improve surface runoff infiltration.

The document emphasized that all necessary permits must be obtained from competent authorities, including the Water Resources Unit and Forest Service, before implementing the proposed development.

The controversy over the Urban Terminal project has raised concerns about potential environmental and social impacts.

The fate of the project remains uncertain as both parties continue to exchange views on how to mitigate flood risks and ensure a sustainable development.

Source: Defi Media

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