S4S reiterates its objections to Anse à la Mouche hotel project | 05 February 2021
Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S) has reiterated its objections to a hotel project at Anse à la Mouche that is seemingly going ahead despite objections raised by a number of NGOs, including S4S.
According to S4S, when this project was first proposed in 2019 a number of NGOs, including itself, stated their objections to it for a number of reasons. This was done through a scoping report to the Division of Environment at the time, and with the support of CEPS (in August and September 2019).
“When the new government came in last October we reiterated our position with regard to this project through CEPS and directly to the Department of Environment, the Planning Authority and their Board members. In spite of our various efforts, we learnt over a week ago that this project is going ahead. The road diversion through the wetlands has been demarcated with metal poles and we were told by the surveyors on site that work is due to start in March 2021, and the contract had been awarded to UCPS,” says S4S in a communiqué.
The following is a summary of the reasons why S4S and the other NGOs are against this project:
1. The hotel site will destroy yet another large section of the remaining 10% of wetlands left on Mahé, in spite of Seychelles being a signatory to the Ramsar Convention since 2005.
2. The project proposal provides no details of what their “environment management plan” might be for such a sensitive area as a wetland. The only suggestion is to build weirs which are known to be ineffective in wetlands.
3. Government leased prime land – Parcel C7983 (bigger than Eden Island) – at minimal value for 99 years: 813,243 square metres at R75 per square metre. The rate then, in 2019, was R1,200 to R1,500 per square metre for land on Mahé. In view of land shortages faced by local people, this is scandalous.
4. The project is presented as a “mixed-use development” but the focus is only on ‘phase one’ – ie. the building of the hotel. From the various presentations made (including the EIA meeting of August 24, 2019) the rest – including the ‘retail village’ – may or may not happen in the distant future, depending on how the hotel fares.
5. The project will result in considerable restrictions to public access of about one third of the Anse à la Mouche beach.
6. The shoreline section – Parcel C6626 – is essential for the coastal protection, especially in the face of sea-level rise, and should not have been leased for beach ‘development’.
7. The proposed road diversion, to enable the hotel to have immediate sea frontage, will split the Anse à la Mouche community into two sections, and this is unacceptable to residents.
8. The proponents of this project, the UAE-based Albwardy Investment, also owns the two Four Seasons Hotels (at Petit Anse and Desroches Island) and Mango House at Anse aux Poules Bleues. We have to ask: How much is enough?
9. Considering the size of the property, it is very conceivable for the developers to review their proposal and consider building their hotel in a more sustainable manner outside of the wetlands, possibly on a smaller scale, without destroying the wetlands, causing a road diversion and depriving local people of valuable land.
10. Another more sustainable alternative would be to use existing ‘abandoned’ hotel sites, of which there are at least six.
S4S is therefore urging government to review this project proposal and take into consideration all the points raised above before giving final permission for the project to go ahead.
Press release from Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S)