Disagreements have arisen around the Urban Terminal construction project in Curepipe between the Land Drainage Authority and the Ministry of Housing and Lands. The question that divides them is whether the site is a flood risk zone or not.

The construction project for the Urban Terminal in Curepipe is tinged with disagreements. These have arisen between the Land Drainage Authority (LDA) and the Ministry of Housing and Lands over certain aspects. If the LDA considers that the site identified for the project is classified as a flood risk zone, the second appointee does not share this opinion.

It all started with the call for tenders launched by the Ministry of Local Government on February 28, 2024. The exercise resulted in a series of recommendations from the LDA. This identified the location designated for the construction of the Urban Terminal as an area at risk of flooding.

Concerns that do not seem to be shared by the Ministry of Housing and Lands, falling under the supervision of Steven Obeegadoo. The latter, as MP at No. 17 (Curepipe/Midlands), is personally involved in the development of this infrastructure located in his constituency.

In response to observations made by the LDA in a document, the Department of Housing and Lands has made it clear that it finds it unlikely that development will encroach on the flood risk area. The LDA is however categorical: land A, identified by the authorities for the construction of the Urban Terminal at La Vigie, Curepipe, is a flood risk area where no construction is recommended.

In a document published on May 22, the LDA specified that strict conditions must be respected in order to reduce the risk of flooding. It first recommends that “any excess rainwater generated by the proposed development must be contained on site and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure the safety of the development”.

Additionally, it advises raising the ground level of the proposed development by at least 500mm above road level to prevent water entry. The document also recommends “the adoption of a holistic and watershed-based approach to the design of proposed drainage infrastructure”.

The design of service providers must therefore, according to the LDA, ensure that the proposed development will at no time have “a negative impact on the downstream and/or surrounding areas”. Therefore, it continues, “a stormwater drainage report, duly signed by a licensed professional engineer, must be submitted to this office, for review and approval, clearly indicating the impact of the proposed development.”

swales and retention ponds

The LDA also believes that the proposed development must be equipped with a rainwater harvesting system to contain it within and “the overflow must be channeled to a safe discharge point”. It also recommends the adoption of sustainable drainage systems such as “swales” and retention basins to allow better percolation of surface runoff water. “All necessary approvals must be sought and obtained from all relevant authorities, including the Water Resources Unit and the Forest Service, prior to implementation of the proposed development. »

In its document, the Ministry of Housing and Lands emphasized the fact that the site planned for the construction of the Curepipe Urban Terminal extends over a total area of ​​25 acres and 80 perches, of which only approximately three acres are in a flood risk zone. This represents approximately 11% of the site. According to him, the planned buildings must therefore respect generous distances from the motorway and roundabouts. This leads him to believe that development is unlikely to encroach on the flood risk zone.

The ministry also wishes to reassure the LDA that the proposed site for the Urban Terminal is large enough to accommodate the three-acre flood risk zone without development. “These three acres can be left as open spaces as part of the Urban Terminal project. They can be integrated into the project to provide essential Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) functions in the urban environment and could potentially form part of a 'blue-green' corridor along the Eau-Bleue River. can we read.

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