Residents of suburbs next to the proposed mall claim the construction negates environmental concerns and therefore should be halted. The residents say the mall, to be built on a piece of land between Dandaro Village and Borrowdale West in Harare, is being built on a wetland and that the city by-laws prohibited such construction.
“The actual construction is not scheduled to start until June 2012 and that should give all interested parties ample time to work with us, as the designated town planning and licensing authority, to resolve any outstanding issues concerning administrative and regulatory matters,” said Masunda in written responses.
He said the proposed mall would add a new dimension to the landscape of Harare and go a long way “towards decongesting some of the existing facilities”.
Constructors of the audacious mall last week dismissed the suggestions by residents that the shopping centre was being built on a wetland and therefore, construction should be halted.
Michael van Blerk of West Properties, who oversee the development of the mall, last week said since Borrowdale was constructed in the 1960s, the violation of the area could not then be blamed on the construction of the mall, to be known as the Mall of Zimbabwe.
“Dandaro and Borrowdale West are built on the same ecological environment and anyone who complains is being mischievous,” said van Blerk, who described the residents’ call to halt construction as disingenuous.
He said the company had applied for a change of use from the government and had been granted that. “This was advertised and only six objections were received and were adjudicated to by the minister (of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatius Chombo), but were ruled not to be of any substance,” he explained.
Giving an example of the construction of Julius Nyerere Street, which was built on top of an open stream, Van Blerk blamed urbanisation and population growth for the change in the environment.
Van Blerk said his company had complied with requests from the government regarding construction of the mall and currently, an environment impact assessment was underway.