Land barons invade Westgate wetlands

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HARARE – Westgate residents are worried about continued development on wetlands in their area with building starting on public open spaces.

In all development, slices of the land being subdivided into residential land have to be allocated under town planning laws and regulations for public purposes, basically education, health and recreation with most developers allocating wetland and other land unsuitable for building for the recreation portion.

When The Herald visited the area it witnessed development taking place on open spaces and river banks in the area.

Along Brumble Road, there were cabins and bricks on several newly-demarcated residential stands with some builders clearing up the land for construction. Behind the road was a small stream that flows to Westgate Area D.

The area on Brumble Road, according to the residents, was reserved as a recreation park for the local residents by the developer.

There were also developments taking place on wetlands along Mukwa and Sugar Bush Roads, on land also zoned as public open space for the neighbourhood in accordance with planning rules.

The situation was worse along Flame Lily Road where houses were built on the bed of a stream that flows to Madokero residential area. Builders could even be seen pumping out water to dig the foundations of the house.

Speaking on behalf of Westgate residents Mrs Barbra Mukahanana said the invasion of wetlands in Westgate has reached unprecedented levels and there was need for action before the situation worsens.

Meanwhile, Cabinet has received the completed the national wetlands master plan with full mapping and will provide the basis and information needed to develop policy.

The inventory of Zimbabwe’s wetlands together with the accompanying maps is now available in hard copy and electronic format and the master plan is comprehensive.

It is made up of the Zimbabwe national wetlands map, 10 provincial wetlands maps and 63 district wetlands maps, plus the field wetlands maps, the national wetlands geo-database and the national wetlands interactive GIS (Geographic Information Systems) web map.

The wetlands interactive GIS web map provides an interactive platform for wetlands visualisation for the general public, and the mobile application can be accessed online.

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