No Nuke @ Thyspunt say local residents.
By Bev Mortimer
Eskom consultants’, Acer, came under fire at the end of last month for ignoring the objections and feeling of residents through the building of a nuclear power station 10 kms away from St Francis Bay.
Over 200 St Francis and J’Bay residents, who packed the conference room at St Francis Links felt the consultants’ decision to use the R330 road from Humansdorp, across the Kromme, as its main route to the proposed nuclear power plant at Thyspunt, would destroy the quality of their lives and devalue their properties.
“We are concerned about the impacts of traffic to and from the nuclear power plant along the R330,” said Andre Fouche a resident, who lives near the Kromme bridge. Summing up the feelings of many residents he went on to cheering applause: “The noise will be unbelievable across the bridge. What about people’s right to peace and quiet? For nine years this will continue. What is it going to do to the value of our properties? ”
Peter Bosman then added that 950 vehicles a day on the R330 will make the road far more dangerous for people who use it, while John Hammond said: “Eskom is ignoring the social impact on the lives of children, people and on the houses.”
In a shock announcement at the meeting Eskom representatives and consultants Acer said there were no plans to widen the R330 or to build a new bridge across the Kromme, or at Van Stadens (or anywhere else) else to better accommodate the huge construction vehicles that are expected to traverse the distance from Port Elizabeth. This was because they believed the current roads and bridges could withstand the heavy traffic loads.
There were audible gasps of dismay and outrage by attendees at the meeting and many publicly voiced their anticipation of a ‘nightmare’ of congested traffic for miles and long delays for nine years.
Eskom officials present made light of these fears by saying construction vehicles would not traverse the road during peak traffic times.
Greg Christie for the Squid Industry criticised Acer’s Report for ignoring the importance of the squid industry to the region and almost nullifying the negative effects of dumping enormous truckloads of excavated sand continually on the ocean floor 5 km offshore during construction phase and by the heating of sea water afterwards.
Turning back to the social impacts the construction of the nuclear plant would have on St Francis, Hilton Thorpe of the Kromme Trust said these impacts had been played down by Acer.
He forecast more informal settlements at Sea Vista, with countless more people looking for employment, when there was already insufficient work and high unemployment in the area.
This influx would not only affect the lives of current Sea Vista residents but the lives too of the retired, working and business people in the area.
The site at Thyspunt is of major importance in terms of the cultural heritage of the Khoisan people. SAHRA has refused to approve the relevant Heritage Impact Scoping Report.
In its report Acer says that Thyspunt is considered to be the least preferred site from a heritage perspective.
Source: St Francis Chronicle
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