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In 2024, the Economic Development Board approved four real estate development projects on the coast, which once again revives concerns about concrete pressure in these regions.

The Economic Development Board (EDB) has given its approval for four real estate projects on the Mauritian coast. This includes hotels, luxury apartments and other residential developments. This does not fail to revive concerns regarding concrete mix pressure and its environmental impacts, and to arouse criticism and ecological concerns.

The first of four approved projects is being led by Amirek Holdings Ltd, a local company specializing in property development. Amirek Holdings Ltd was granted a parcel of land from the State spanning 63,843 square meters (sqm). The company plans to build a hotel complex there as well as tourist apartment blocks. The project will also include a desalination unit to meet the complex's water needs. Financing will be provided by the developers, who rely on local investors for the necessary support.

The second concerns the establishment of a luxury apartment complex by LP Residences Ltd on the west coast of Mauritius, precisely in Wolmar, Flic-en-Flac, in the Rivière-Noire district. The project site, with an area of
1,886 m², belongs to City and Beach Hotels (Mauritius) Limited. The total construction area will be 3,957 m² with a plot coverage of 33.3%. The project will include 45 units (37 apartments and 8 penthouses) spread over 5 blocks. It will also include a 429 m² swimming pool and 54 parking spaces.

Concerning the third project, it is Anahita Beau Champ Limited which plans to divide a land of 78,845.20 m², belonging to it, into 39 lots, all equipped with roads, drains, utility services and landscaping. This is part of the Anahita Beau Champ Smart City project, in Flacq, covering an approximate area of ​​279 acres and adjoining the Eastern tourist zone and the establishments of Bel-Air/Rivière-Sèche. It is located on the former site of the Deep River Beau-Champ sugar factory and power station, now disused.

The fourth project approved in 2024 is a plan by South West Safari Group Ltd, which plans to develop a 170,274 m² plot of land for mixed use. The master plan, which will be developed in phases, includes the following developments:

  • Residential (including low to medium cost residential housing, medium density duplex housing and high density apartment blocks)
  • Commercial zone
  • Social and leisure area
  • Development under the Property Development Scheme (PDS)

The first phase of the main project includes the division of 53,531 m² of land into 85 residential lots. It also involves the provision and construction of necessary infrastructure and utility services, including water supply network, electricity and telecom network, road network and storm water drainage. Lot sizes will range from 396 m² to 680 m², covering a total of 79.1% of the project area. The coverage of the right-of-way for the construction of roads and road reserves is 18.9% and 2% for green spaces.

EDB environmental requirements

Although these projects have been approved by the EDB, there are strict conditions that the developer must strictly adhere to. According to the conditions generally applied, any developer authorized to undertake construction must submit all other permits and authorizations from the competent authorities, and a copy of these must be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment.

Also, according to the EDB, the development must be carried out in accordance with the mitigation measures set out in the EIA report and the additional information submitted, unless otherwise specified in this document.

The department must be informed in writing of the date of commencement of work on site for monitoring purposes. The developer must ensure that, at all times, existing road infrastructure is maintained and kept free from the entrainment of mud and other construction materials. Any damage caused to listed roads during the construction phase must be repaired immediately by the developer at its own expense, to the satisfaction of the authorities.

In other cases, the developer must take all mitigation measures to the satisfaction of the Central Water Authority, to prevent contamination of water resources near the project site. To mitigate soil erosion problems, ecosystem-based approaches such as planting trees, shrubs and grasses rather than heavy engineering approaches should be adopted.

Criticisms and apprehensions

Joanna Bérenger, MMM MP, has insisted, for several years, on the importance of integrating the Environmental Sensitive Areas (ESA) concept into legislation. She says an ESA assesses the cumulative effects of projects on a region, an approach she believes is much more comprehensive than the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which focuses only on a specific project. She emphasizes that the concept takes into account the activities already present in a specific region, thus adopting a more holistic approach.

She cites an example of the ESA concept that has been well implemented, notably the “ESA of the National Land Use and Development Master Plan 2020-2050” in Rwanda. She believes this project shows how this can provide a coherent and integrated overview of long-term territorial development.

Joanna Bérenger also criticizes the government's real estate development policy and expresses her concerns, highlighting a number of problems linked to the way in which real estate projects are managed and their impacts on the local population.

“It is not surprising to hear the Minister of Finance admit that he does not know the exact number of young people and Mauritian families who have left the country, while being fully informed of the number of foreigners who have submitted an application with the EDB to settle in Mauritius.” She denounces “an excessive focus on short-term profits and foreign direct investment to the detriment of local interests”.

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