Benefits of the N2 toll road?
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WRITTEN REPLY QUESTION NO 743 DATE REPLY SUBMITTED: 30 MARCH 2010 DATE OF PUBLICATION IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: MONDAY, 15 MARCH 2010 (INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: NO 7 – 2010) Mr G R Morgan (DA) asked the Minister of Transport:
(1) Whether the proposed development of the N2 Wild Coast Toll highway is being done in conjunction with a broader spatial planning process for the areas that will be impacted by the road; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(2) (a) how will the proposal for the new road benefit the broader development objectives of the area and (b) what are the negative effects of the proposed road in respect of the broader development objectives of the area?
NW870E REPLY: The Minister of Transport The proposed development of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway is being done with a broad spatial planning process. Government’s Wild Coast Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) was undertaken in the mid 1990’s, which focused on a developmental strategy that could address poverty, create jobs and uplift communities of the impoverished Wild Coast area. This included the toll road and the establishment of the Pondoland National Park. Since roads are the catalyst for development, the potential of the area will not be realized without a good road and the people of the area will be continued to be consigned to a life of poverty.
The documentation covering the various studies such as the economic impact studies and the environmental impact assessment are voluminous.
Detailed information is available on the following websites: www.nra.co.za and www.ccaenvironmental.co.za (chapter 15 and the specialist assessment report contained in Appendix 12 of the Final Environmental Impact Report).
(2) (a) The positive benefits, inter alia, of the project are providing access to an area of South Africa that has virtually none, thereby unlocking the developmental potential of the Eastern Cape and the Pondoland area, in particular. Furthermore, the provision of this road will strengthen the national road network where it has been required for decades.
Listed below are some of the benefits of the project: Benefit-cost analysis shows a ratio as high as 2,44. The gross once-off investment in the area during construction - R4 773 million. Income from new business activity (after construction) - R1 666 million. Total investment in the area (during and after construction) - R6 439 million. The annual increase in income in the service area of the proposed road during and after construction will be as follows:
- Wages and salaries to local population R 228,8 million
- Income increase to local industry R 171,6 million
- Retailers R 114,4 million Service providers R 57,2 million
- Number of permanent jobs 15 880
- Multiplier effect in zone of influence: 4 – 6. Tourism potential in the area:
- Expected tourists per annum - 1 400 000
- Projected new room developments - 784
- Positive economic impact as a result of increased tourism volumes It is acknowledged that any kind of development causes disruption to the status quo, be it to the natural surroundings (environmental) or to human life. The disruption caused should, however, be considered in its proper context.
- The challenge is to find a balance between the improvement of the quality of life of human beings and the preservation of the environment. This challenge can be met through the application of mitigation measures. The reports mentioned earlier do suggest such mitigation measures that can be further refined at the implementation stage of the project.
- It has been shown that the potential negative impact of the project is on the biodiversity of Pondoland – Ugu Sandstone Coastal Sourveld vegetation and in the Pondoland Centre of Endemism. However, this must be seen in the context of the size of the project.
- The road traverses some 560 km between the Provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
- The entire road is in an existing road reserve area of which approximately 75 km is a greenfield site. The greenfield site is between Ndwalane and Mtanwena River in the Pondoland Centre of Endemism. This is approximately 13% of the entire length of the road.
- The road reserve here will be 80 m wide; the road prism will generally vary between 20 and 50 m and the surfaced width will be 12,5 m. Thus, an area approximately 94 ha out of a total area of 600 ha (greenfield site) will be disturbed – i.e. approximately 16% - to the extent that the vegetation will be uprooted.
- This is a “small” price to pay for the upliftment of the people living in an underdeveloped part of South Africa.