The chiefs and people of Ada Foah in the Ada East District in the Greater Accra Region have urged Trasacco Estates Development Company (TEDC) to satisfy all their needs before they will give their consent for the company to site a project on an island on the Volta River.
The TEDC is seeking to build a Hilton Resort & Spa and a Turtle Bay at Kewunor, an island community on the Volta Lake, near Ada Foah in the Greater Accra Region.
The people are demanding, among others, their relocation “to a comfortable place,” payment of compensation packages to the affected families and a comprehensive local content policy that will ensure that the local folk would benefit from the value chain processes linked to the project.
According to the convenor of the Kewunor Advocacy Group, a group championing the welfare of the community, Mr Julius Amesimeku Odoi, a census conducted by the group this year indicated that the island community had over 1,000 families living in about 750 unit houses.
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They made the demands at a public hearing at Ada Foah last Tuesday as part of an environmental impact assessment that the company must satisfy.
The hearing was supervised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
It was to enable TEDC to explain the scope and nature of the project to the members of the community, the potential environmental impact and the measures it would adopt to resolve or mitigate the impact in the interest of the community.
Participants in the event, including civil society organisations, assembly members and religious leaders, were unanimous in their position that the project was a good one because it would create employment avenues for the youth in the area and contribute to promoting tourism in the country.
They, however, indicated that the project also had far-reaching implications on the environment, including “a possible damage of the Ada sea defence wall” and the destruction of a turtle reserve that equally served as a tourist attraction.
They, therefore, appealed to the EPA and the Ada East District Assembly to ensure that the TEDC fulfilled all the mandatory requirements before the project was approved.
The General Manager of the TEDC in charge of Design, Ms Pearl Ume, in response to the demands, pledged the company’s resolve to work with the needed state agencies, including the EPA, to ensure that the concerns raised by the members of the community were comprehensively addressed.
She said the TEDC had conducted a census in Kewunor in 2014 after it had acquired the area to site the project.
She said following the census, the TEDC designed a comprehensive relocation plan for the inhabitants of the area, including the construction of one-to two-bedroom houses, a basic school, among other amenities at another location within the district.
Touching on the sea defence, a General Manager of the TEDC, Mr Jacob Kurian, said the company would enter into an agreement with the local authorities to ensure that it repaired the sea defence wall should there be any damage to it.
In an interview, the Head of the Environmental Assessment and Audit Division of the EPA, Mr Kwabena Badu-Yeboah, stressed the authority’s resolve to ensure that the TEDC satisfied all the legal requirements in the interest of the state and members of the Kewunor community before it would give approval for the commencement of the project.