Of growing importance

Of growing importance

When Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Egbert Doran was asked in last week’s press briefing about civil works permits for several projects in – among others – the Cole Bay and Simpson Bay areas, he said to be more specific and provide pictures. As it turned out (see Monday paper), no applications for such have yet been published in the National Gazette as required since the related Article 28a of the National Ordinance on Spatial Development Planning LROP was reinstated on April 26, 2021.
The latter is surprising, because some of the pre-construction activities certainly seem to fit the criteria of excavation, raising, levelling or exploding land, felling and clear-cutting trees, etc. The question then becomes whether any of the building permits concerned were issued after the law adjustment took effect and – if so – how.
One can understand that this is something everyone must get used to, including government officials. However, enforcement is crucial especially in the beginning to prevent widespread evasion.
The intention here is not to suggest jeopardising investments by stopping ongoing developments, but rules are made for a reason and need to be upheld by all parties involved. It might also be worthwhile to study whether any of these ventures violate the long-existing Hillside Policy.
Again, nobody wants to thwart progress particularly under the current socioeconomic circumstances. On the other hand, protecting what little local nature is left has also become of growing importance.

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