petrolA RESOUNDING ‘NO’ FROM THE MAJORITY OF US

On 28 May 2015 we reported that a small, obscure notice concerning an application for the establishment of a petrol station at the entrance to Kenton on Sea had been published in Talk of the Town on 14 May 2015. We urged you to send in your objections and over 300 residents from Kenton and its surrounds did so. Thank you!

By far the majority of these responses were against the establishment of another petrol station in Kenton. And the biggest majority of these objections related to its hazardous location, its aggravation of a dangerous traffic intersection, its danger to pedestrians, particularly children and the elderly.

In addition, over half of the comments also objected on the grounds that we do not need another petrol station; there are several more within 26kms eastwards and westwards. Putting another petrol station and more shops in Kenton will have a negative impact on the viability of the existing Kenton Garage and other businesses. Some businesses will either close, or struggle to survive as a result of the proposed retail outlets. People will lose their jobs.

The next biggest cause of concern was environmental destruction caused by fumes from cars, trucks, seepage from underground petrol tanks into the river in close proximity, litter, noise and destruction of Kenton’s unique natural features and its ambience that maintains Kenton as an eco-tourist destination. Many of the comments also raised concerns about an increase in crime.

Amongst those who wrote their comments either in an email or faxed a document giving reasons, we found less than ten in favour of the proposal.

On 23 July 2013 KOSRA added its united committee voice. (Still available on this website.)

The Owner of Kenton Garage, Eugene de Witt, confirmed that he has engaged the services of environmental specialists to object on his behalf. This objection is a costly exercise for a small business to carry but as the garage’s livelihood and existence depends on every litre pumped he has no other option. The current volumes pumped are 1,200,000 litres belowthe required sustainable average based on the criteria used for any new Petroleum licenses issued! Of the nine fuel outlets between Alexandria to Port Alfred only two are averaging the required 300,000 litres per month. This further underlines the size of the issue with this proposed development.

He reports further that the Department of Energy in a recent communication confirmed that, as fuel is a regulated product, a second garage is undesirable due to the volumes pumped. The current volumes in Kenton on Sea aren’t anywhere near enough to validate such an additional development. This letter from the Depart of Energy was submitted as part of his objection to this project.

We are now able to report that the matter, including all these objections, is still before the Eastern Cape Provincial Government’s Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in Port Elizabeth. An outcome is not expected any time soon as the proposal has raised a considerable amount of controversy. We hope to have news before the end of the year.

The news could either be: ‘Yes, the station may go ahead, but under the following conditions’; or, the outcome could be ‘No, and these are the reasons why’. The vast majority of residents, judging from your responses now lodged in hardcopy in the Kenton library, are definitely against the proposal.

If the DEAET approves the development, and we hope it won’t, then we will have the opportunity to appeal, and we will again call on you for your input.