‘Procedures against Wechi-development far from finalized’

WILLEMSTAD — Of the 140 objections against the development of Wechi (Weitje) as residential area, few were disallowed in the meantime after official reports from the concerned departments General Judicial Affairs (AJZ) and Environment Planning and Public Housing (DROV).


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The objections, which had been lodged in 2006, were based on facts such as no residential market research, financial feasibility, the development of the infrastructure and the location of the terrain where chemical waste is dumped on the landfill. However, as explained after the presentation of the master plan Wechi ‘Bèrde, Bibabel, Sigur’ in the conference room of the Island Council, the latter is now taken into consideration in the next phases of the development.

Nevertheless, those whose objections were disallowed still have the opportunity to lodge an appeal with the Governor. Furthermore, AJZ and DROV are not ready with the other objections yet, and the Island Council still has to approve the zoning plan change of the open space in the Island territorial Development Plan (EOP) into residential area. The terrain may not be built on either, if Wechi is zoned as Open Space based on the objections. The process might take longer than the three to four months indicated by Deputy of Infrastructure, Anthony Godett (FOL) yesterday.

In a reaction, Lloyd Narian of Defensa Ambiental, states that environmental organizations, such as Amigu di Tera and Defensa Ambiental have not finished their battle by a long shot. They have objected the development of the nature reserve between Julianadorp and Malpais from the beginning. Not only because of the nature and culture-historical value of the area outside urban Willemstad, but also because there are sufficient terrains available in the urban part, and there are enough run-down houses.
"Many residences are currently being used as offices, which causes more traffic blocks in the districts", says Narain. He predicts that the development of the infrastructure at Wechi and the expected stream of traffic if the development of the residential area with 2500 houses and provisions were to be realized, would also cause many problems, even though a so-called turbo traffic circle at Zegu is included in the master plan. Furthermore, according to the organization, one is still to guarantee the water management (there are dams and wells on the terrain measuring 135 hectare, red.). Meanwhile, Wechi has been cleared, "for one million guilders, as Narain understands, "while Fundashon Kas Popular (FKP) who purchased the terrain at the time, itself is pressed for millions."

A green area, amongst others has been included in the master plan on the side of the dams, the so-called water parks. The planning includes 125 student houses, 500 starter houses, 500 social rental houses, and 1375 houses for middle and higher classes. The plan also includes provisions such as a super market, pharmacies, many green areas and recreation, a community center at the former country house, with adjacent allotment gardens for own vegetables and fruit. For the time being, the plan regards a preliminary design, but architect Cees van der Sande has complete confidence. "It is feasible, and compared to other plans we did not include any crazy ideas. Of course, one must consider the land prices and the acquisition thereof, while the most uncertain factor regards the market development. One requires the involvement of other parties, and of course, the finances."

Deputy Godett seemed very positive yesterday. "FKP had already purchased the terrain in 1993, but development remained forthcoming all those years. In the meantime, the assessed value is 16 million guilders. FKP has a waiting list of 8000 persons seeking housing. Those people are entitled to a house."