Shoreline is under threat

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From David Cabeldu, for the committee of Save Our Shoreline.

SAVE Our Shoreline has this week written to Planning in respect of an application by WEB for consent to build 59 luxury flats with basement car parking on the Waterfront, close to the Radisson Hotel.

The project was reported by the JEP last week and is known as Zephyrus. The footprint is over 10,000 sq m. SOS has requested that a full Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out as required under the Planning and Building (Environmental Impact) (Jersey) Order 2006, before planning consent is given. In particular, and in the light of previous severe flooding at two recent major Waterfront developments, Castle Quay and the incinerator, we would suggest that the EIA must include comprehensive ground testing for hazardous waste.

As the site abuts the St Aubin’s Bay sea wall, we have asked that Planning require the developers to demonstrate to the regulator’s satisfaction, in their report, that they have the technical expertise to ensure that the site will not flood.

With regard to the Construction Environment Management Plan that will be necessary should planning permission be granted: Should flooding occur before all hazardous material has been removed from the site, we have asked for assurance that work will cease until the problem has been resolved. We would like assurance that the developer should be required to cease work and report the flooding, and that the regulator take action, including testing of waters on site for pollution.

At the time of writing we are still awaiting an explanation from Environmental Protection as to why work at Castle Quay was allowed to continue when water flooded raw incinerator ash, liberating heavy metals to sea.

Under the terms of the contract as confirmed by Senator Freddie Cohen to the States on 28 April 2009: ‘The CEMP requires that the principal contractor will ensure that any water that may have come into contact with contaminated materials will be disposed of to the satisfaction of the States of Jersey. The contractor is therefore bound by the terms of the CEMP to be aware of the potential for waters to become polluted and to look out for any such occurrences.’

It is clear to us that this requirement did not happen; we believe that the developer watched the sea flood the site and continued work. The Water Regulator must have known that flooding was occurring while 10,000 tons of toxic incinerator ash was present and did not enforce the CEMP.

Water samples from within the site were not required yet at the incinerator site (which was deemed to be inert) water samples were required and showed high levels of heavy metals. Why the disparity in process when Castle Quay was known to contain raw toxic ash and other hazardous substances? We recently met with Dandara and discussed the issue, but our requests for sight of the CEMP and other data were refused.

Heavy metals are odourless, invisible in solution and deadly. They can build up in sediment, enter our food chain and are very difficult to get rid of. Save Our Shoreline firmly believe that a slow but steady release of metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium is occurring on a day by day basis from Waterfront reclamation and building projects. We submit that it is time that government recognised this threat to marine and human health rather than deny or fudge the facts.

Jersey already has high levels of E-Coli, norovirus, and recently the herpes (0sHV-1) virus has badly affected our oyster farms. The addition of heavy metals to the ‘mix’ of toxins ingested by filter feeders could destroy the industry. This cannot be allowed to happen. It must also not be forgotten that Jersey has a responsibility for any pollution it may export to other jurisdictions.

With the Zephyrus project we have a huge new development to monitor from scratch and SOS will do its damnedest to prevent yet another flooding and probable pollution occurrence. This time we will have a team there filming as the foundations are dug, rather than when they have flooded.

From now on, things must be done correctly. We care desperately about our marine environment and we know the majority of Islanders do. We cannot understand why those who should be caring (and are paid very well to protect the health of our environment) do not share our concerns and have sat on their hands.

Further details are now available on our website

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