TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE construction of the controversial US$20 million shopping mall in Woodlands will soon start following the approval by Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).
ZEMA will also avail a letter from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, which confirm the deletion of the special condition regarding any restriction on the use of the property to religious and educational use only.
The multi-million dollar project, at the junction of Chindo and Mutende roads in Woodlands sparked debate from various stakeholders after ZEMA received an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report from Vertigo Properties Limited last year.
However, ZEMA manager corporate affairs Irene Chipili said the regulatory body has finally given a go-ahead for the project, which will comprise of 40 commercial outlet shops with Shoprite as the anchor store, a food court and banking services among others.
In a statement availed to the Daily Mail on Tuesday, Mrs Chipili said the Ministries of General Education, and Local Government and Housing as key stakeholders did not object to the project.
ZEMA has since called for comments from key stakeholders such as ministries of Local Government and Housing, and General Education, St. Mary’s Parents’ Teachers Association, Zesco, Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company Limited and National Council for Construction.
“ZEMA’s evaluation of the proposed mitigation measures against impacts presented in the said EIA report, it has approved the project with conditions such as putting in place measures to ensure that pupils at St. Mary’s Secondary School are not disturbed during the project construction and operation phases.
“Other conditions are that the company should not use blasting methods throughout the project cycle, constructing the mall in such a way that it would be obscured to classes above ground to avoid distraction of pupils and design of facilitates that can generate unacceptable noise with appropriate noise proof construction materials among others,” she said.
She stressed that it is a requirement of the law for all developers to fully adhere to the conditions specified for all approved projects and to ensure that developments are undertaken in accordance with environmental laws and other relevant regulations prescribed in Zambia.
Mrs Chipili, however, said ZEMA may suspend or cancel the decision letter if Vertigo Properties Limited fails to comply with any of the specified conditions.