Coast KZN

04 Apr 2017

New luxury Richards Bay development Council

Mia Moorcroft (Zululand Observer)

The view from the property earmarked for development

Council exempts The Ridge from land sales suspension

The City of uMhlathuze Executive Committee (Exco) has recommended the sale of municipal property in Meerensee with spectacular views of Pelican Island and the Port of Richards Bay for a new luxury resort and hotel, as well as residential development, called The Ridge.

This would be a special exemption project outside the moratorium placed on land sales by Council in September 2015 – a move made necessary to prevent the city from going ‘land bankrupt’.

At Friday’s Executive Committee (Exco) meeting, Council said the exception was justified seeing that The Ridge would be one of the the city’s catalytic developments, formally listed as a ‘Strategic Economic Project’ necessary to attract investors, stimulate growth and create jobs.

It was proposed that the residential plot, near Premier The Richards and Splendid Inn Bayshore hotels, be sold at a market related price through a public tender process.

The conceptual urban design for the development, commissioned in September last year, includes a hotel, high density residential area, park and play area, commercial and office component and access boulevards.

The proposed conceptual layout for The Ridge in Meerensee.


Scenic pedestrian boardwalks were also proposed to maximise public benefit of the views.

‘It will be an area of iconic status that is set to create a lasting impression on visitors and will also contribute positively towards the municipal income streams,’ said Council.

‘The Ridge is the only area that enjoys views of the harbour and the sea as a result of its elevation.’

It was further stated that the only possible Environmental Authorisation trigger would be the removal of indigenous vegetation.

‘At this stage of design, it remains unclear which indigenous trees will be accommodated in the development, and hence the Environmental Authorisation implications are unknown.

‘However, if less than one hectare of indigenous vegetation is removed, no Environmental Authorisation would be required.

‘Should more than one hectare be removed, a Basic Assessment process with an estimated time frame of six months would be required.’

In July last year, City Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo pledged to propel the roll-out of the project, which he said would become ‘the jewel of coastal living’ in uMhlathuze.


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