By African Times Special Correspondent
The Environment Tribunal and Land Court thrown into limbo the Construction of over six hundred housing units by Erdermann Properties limited after issuing an order stopping the ongoing construction until the matter before it is heard and determined.
Makueni ‘s Justice Mbogo issued stay orders on Tuesday effectively reversing ex-parte orders earlier issued by the same court on December 20,2019 granting Erdermann Properties a temporary reprieve to continue with the construction.
It is the second time the court halted construction of the ambitious housing project which has faced opposition from London Distillers Kenya Ltd neighbouring the housing project being undertaken by a Chinese investor.
Edermann Properties Ltd against National Environment Tribunal, National Environment Management Authority and London Distillers, Edermann seeking to overturn the orders made by the National Environment Tribunal on September 6,2019.
In a delivered ruling, the Tribunal halted further construction by Erdermann on their Great Wall Gardens Housing Development Phase 3 following an application by London Distillers Kenya Ltd.
LDK had raised complaints about sewerage disposal among other issues.
The developer built over two thousands housing units and already launched the construction of Phase 3 with 688 housing units.
Prompting the London Distillers Kenya to raise alarm with the construction of the phase 3 apartments pointing out that, it was wrong for the developer to proceed with the construction even before the issues that it had raised on the second phase were resolved.
Among the issues that the distiller had raised earlier were that Erdermann should not have been allowed to construct residential houses in the area where there was already a presence of industries.
The company argued that the proposed development will impact negatively on the environment as the project site is within a mixed use zone and that there is evidence contained in an Environmental Impact Assesment(EIA) report that, having a residential housing project within a zone where a number of industries are located was not desirable.
The distiller which was established over 35 years ago stressed mixed use of industrial and residential are not compatible projects within such a zone.
“Proposed housing project is not compatible with the company operations and other industries within the project zone.
If it is allowed, it will be a major source of conflict in future, “LDK Environmental Advisor Mr Benjamin Langwen submitted.
The officer further said the housing project will require massive water for domestic use and the aquifers were currently over-abstracted thus drilling of more boreholes should not be allowed.
London Distillers Limited informed the court that two of its boreholes had already dried up due to a previous housing development by Great wall Housing Development, which the distiller had also opposed.
“Apart from the water problem the project site has no sewer line and this will be a major disaster in future if the housing project is allowed, “Mr Langwen submitted adding LDK being the immediate project-affected and project-interested party had not been consulted as required by the law.
London Distillers informed Court that it was the 6th application Erdermann Properties had filed before to challenge Orders issued by the Environment Tribunal.
It accused Erdermann of abusing, disregarding and disrespecting the Court process by filing several parallel proceedings within different Courts in a bid to shop for suitable Orders.
With the current suit being the 3rd new case it had filed.
The Judge wondered how the parties were to proceed before the Tribunal when it had been sued in three other cases by Erdermann on account of stay Orders it had issued on 4th .September the year 2019 and reiterated on 6th December 2019.
A spot check by African Times Media Investigating team found out an ongoing construction at the site contrary to issued orders by the Constitution Court stopping the process, having been issued in the presence of Erdermann’s officers of the Court.
Erdermann Properties Head of Planning Mr John Rajwayi during an interview maintained that, they had put in place an elaborate sewerage system complete with storm water drainage system and once completed it will effectively put the contentious matter of sewage disposal to rest.
He said Erdermann was the first to raise the issue of pollution of environment by LDK after tenants complained of foul smell from the liquor factory.
The two companies have been entangled in a tag of war with each blaming the other of polluting the environment.
At one time the dispute spilled over to the National Assembly which send two committees to the site on a fact-finding mission.
Ruling on whether the developer will be allowed to continue with construction or not will be delivered on March 3rd 2020.