Some plot owners and residents of Essipon and Ngyiresia Newsite, both suburbs of Sekondi in the Western Region, are resisting attempts by a quarry company to carry out its blasting activities close to their homes.
The property owners want the company to stop operating because their activities beyond causing destructions to their buildings, have implications for their health.
According to the plot owners, some of them have completed their buildings, the Essipon-Ngyiresia Newsite area use to be a quarry site of General Development Company GDC, but was abandoned for fifteen years.
They say the original owners of the land thus demarcated the area and zoned them into residential plots. They however noted that the demarcation, which was carried out by the Town and Country Planning Department of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, ended with some plots falling within the old abandoned quarry site at Ngyiresia, whereas others are very close to the site.
The property owners say they are a loss as to why the STMA could issue permits to them to build, and at the same time allow quarry activities within the residential area.
Secretary to the Essipon-Ngyiresia Plot Owners Association, Anthony Kwofie, told Maxx News they may resort to the court if discussions with officials of the company, the STMA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minerals Commission fail.
“The place that we are talking about has been zoned into a residential area, but we saw the quarry company pumping water from the old pit and we petitioned the Regional Minister, the Regional Police Commander, the EPA, the Minerals Commission, the Metro Coordinating Director and the Metro Chief Executive. All these people are aware of what is happening there but it looks like they are fighting for the company. I don’t know how a quarry and a residential area can co-exist. The issue is not about who came there first because we have been given a permit by the same STMA to build there. I have started my building and ready to move in. It appears that the EPA and the Minerals Commission have not done their assessments but the people have started working” he noted.
“They have asked all of us to write our names at the Physical Planning department of the STMA and provide documents to our property by Wednesday October 16, 2013. So we will know what comes out after Wednesday but we want the company to stop operating there” he reiterated.
A 45 year old property owner who claims to have every document said “our problem is that they should stop the quarry because when they blast, there is dust that follows the blasting and it also shakes the buildings. If they don’t stop, some of us our buildings will collapse and we have no money to build again.”
Another 65 year old man said “If they blast, the old Essipon shakes, not the new site. The buildings are cracking and the dust that comes out is also affecting us, yet they are still blasting” he lamented.
Another property owner, Dr. Egya Ndede Yankey, says the Minerals Commission’s argument that it leased the land to the company for fifty years and so they can now revive their operations is flawed.
“Those of us, who are putting up our buildings or have completed our buildings, have gone through the process, acquired our leases from the Lands Commission and have been given permission by the STMA to go ahead to be build. We have invested several millions and suddenly we are told the quarry is going to start work. This is going to have very bad effects on our buildings and we feel this is unacceptable. The Metropolitan authorities should be for the people and should not treat us in such a way”.
“The Minerals Commission is saying that the land was leased to the company for fifty years and the fact that they stopped work doesn’t mean they cannot come back to restart work. We cannot confirm that claim but we are saying that, the situation then and now, has changed so they cannot come back and ignore the fact that the area has now been zoned as a residential area”.
Officials of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, have refused to comment following a meeting on the matter, at which the plot owners were requested to produce documents to their properties by Wednesday October 16 2013.