Green lung to logistics park: a critical assessment of the rezoning of the Clairwood racecourse.
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The South Durban Basin (SDB) (located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) is the second largest industrial zone in South Africa, and has one of the highest concentrations of chemical and petro-chemical industries in the country. This of great concern as there is several residential areas that are located adjacent to the SDB. With the vision for the development of the new port in the SDB, the Clairwood Racecourse was identified as a prime location for the development of a logistics park. The aim of this study is to examine the impacts of the sale and rezoning of the Clairwood Racecourse as a Logistics/Distribution Park on the surrounding communities. This research employs a case study approach. It largely utilizes qualitative analysis, and makes use of key-informant interviews as well as in-depth documentary analysis. The development of the Clairwood Racecourse into a Logistics/Distribution Park has been riddled with controversies. This study highlights the challenges facing the communities since the development commenced, which include: the loss of the last green lung in the area, pollution hazards, increase in heavy vehicles in the area, loss of recreational space and a decrease in the biodiversity currently present within the Clairwood Racecourse. An in-depth critique of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), compiled by Kerry Seppings Environmental Management Specialists (KSEMS) revealed that social impacts were not considered. The study also highlights the action taken by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) together with the Clairwood Racecourse Action Committee (CRAC) in opposing the development. A key issue is environmental injustice, which is of great concern, particularly when one takes into consideration the already compromised living conditions of residents of the community.