ATTORNEYS representing residents of the Greenvale Housing Development, whose homes were inundated with floodwaters in October, are seeking information, reports and other documentation relating to the development.
Several requests under the Freedom of Information Act have been sent to the Environmental Management Authority, Town and Country Planning, WASA, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the Drainage Division of the Ministry of Works.
They are asking for environmental reports, applications for environmental clearance, maps, plans, decisions taken, conditions imposed or mitigation measures given when approval was given for the project, any correspondence regarding adverse environmental effects the development might have, any monitoring of the development, or any notices of violation or administrative orders issued.
“The requested documents concern the development of the Greenvale Park Housing Project, which has been well publicized and has suffered devastating flooding in October 2018, thereby causing substantial hardship to the residents,” said one of the requests, applied for by attorney Dianne Mano, of Trinity Chambers, on behalf of residents.
In January, HDC managing director Brent Lyons said 483 units were affected.
On Tuesday, Energy Minister Franklin Khan told the Senate the Town and Country division refused permission for a development to be built in Greenvale in 2000 and 2009 because the site was subject to flooding, where "no development could be considered."
He said the project began just prior to 2009 and continued after 2010.
"Searches of the records of the T&C Planning Division have revealed that planning permission for the development of a housing community in the area now known as the Greenvale Housing development was refused on two occasions—-2000 and 2009.
"Reasons were that the site fell into an area which under planning policy, was allocated for agriculture. It fell within the Caroni river flood plain and was subject to flooding and the draft East-West corridor Land Use Strategy Plan identified the site for landscape/river corrosion purposes - open space,"
Final planning permission was also refused on June 26, 2009, for the erection of buildings for single family and multi-family residential purposes; residential/commercial purposes.
He said the site fell in an area allocated for conservation as it feel within the Caroni River flood plain "where no development could be considered and the site formed part of a larger parcel of land which didn't have the benefit of approval for subdivision as required under Town and Country Planning Act (Chp 35:01)."
Khan said in November 18, 2011, since the development of the site was "well advanced", the Works Ministry considered and accepted, in principle, drainage proposals for Phases 1 - 111 submitted by the HDC.
In May, 2014, Khan said HDC submitted revised plans for the subdivision of land to create lots for residential/ancillary purposes. Theplans were reviewed and found to be acceptable.
Final planning permission was granted in October 2014 and applications sent by HDC to retain existing residential buildings on site, were approved in 2015 and 2016.