Appiatse reconstruction plan - New face for old town
Disasters in Ghana, especially man-made disasters in recent times, such as the May 9, 2001, Accra Sports Stadium Disaster, the June 3, 2015 twin disaster in Accra, and the November 7, 2012, Achimota Melcom Building disaster, have left remarkable memories in the minds of many.
Like others, it was a very sad event in Ghana when the Appiatse disaster occurred on Thursday, January 20, 2022, with a devastating explosion that ruined lives and properties of the community, as well as the commuters who were transiting on the major road traversing the community from Bawdie to Bogoso.
While the good people of Ghana were in a state of national mourning over the incident, the government was also putting together an immediate national response to the disaster through short- and long-term plans to ameliorate the sufferings of the affected inhabitants of Appiatse in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region.
The strategic response of the government, including the establishment of the Appiatse Support Fund (ASF) and the Appiatse Reconstruction Implementation Team (ARIT) to oversee the planning and reconstruction of the Appiatse community into a modern town required the support and contributions of every Ghanaian, including public and private intuitions.
The Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) was among the relevant land sector agencies tasked by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to lead the planning efforts aimed at bringing the community back to life.
In fulfilment of the reconstruction plan of the government and in conformity with regulatory frameworks and best practices, the authority, on January 19, 2022, commenced the preparation of a local plan in conformity with the Western Regional Spatial Development Framework for the reconstruction of the Appiatse community.
The focus of this plan was primarily on residential development and blended with complementary land uses such as educational, health services, civic and cultural, commercial, open, recreational spaces and light industrial enclaves to keep the area socially and economically sustainable.
The community has been designed to accommodate about 870 people on 205.64 acres of land, involving the construction of about 124 new housing units, and the rehabilitation of 416 buildings that suffered various degrees of physical and structural damages to give it a new face.
The plan provides for 637 parcels of land covering 79.1 acres of the total land area for residential development and also making adequate protection for environmentally sensitive areas and providing 26 green spaces, made up of the Apiatse Disaster Memorial Park, recreational areas, riparian buffers and reserves.
About 13.21km of access roads and 58 road links have been created in the plan as access ways to ensure adequate route options for various modes of transport in the community.
In addition, the right of way for the access roads is expected to accommodate planting areas and utility corridors for electricity, sewage and ICT infrastructure.
All access ways have been named and parcels of land numbered in accordance with the National Street Naming and Property Addressing Policy of Ghana (2011).
The community was engaged at every stage of the plan preparation and the final plan was also discussed with relevant stakeholders and subsequently approved by the Prestea Huni Valley Municipal Assembly (PHVMA), on April 13, 2022, in accordance with Sections 74(5), 75 and 76 of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925).
This procedure makes it a legally binding document and sets forth the process for the actual implementation of the development of the community.
The implementation of the local plan is being spearheaded by the Appiatse Reconstruction Implementation Committee which was constituted by the government to manage the project.
The writer is Corporate Affairs Officer,
Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA).