The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has rejected the proposed development of a service station at Woodlands Stadium grounds by Spectra Oil Corporation Zambia.
ZEMA Principal Information and Communications Officer Ireen Chipili disclosed in an interview with ZANIS that the filling station construction project had been turned down due to concerns of safety, security and health.
Mrs. Chipili said ZEMA had carried out an environmental impact and assessment process in accordance with the environmental management Act number 12 of 2011.
She said based on expert advice and consultations with key stakeholders such as the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) and the Road Development and Safety Agency (RDA), the agency concluded that the site was not ideal for a filling station.
“Based on information provided in the documents, site verification inspection findings, and input from other authorising agencies, the project has been rejected,” she said.
She has since directed Spectra Oil Corporation to immediately remove all building materials and structures from the site.
Mrs. Chipili observed that the site for the proposed project was adjacent Woodlands Stadium which poses safety, security and health hazards.
She noted that if the project went ahead, it would restrict future stadium expansion works.
She explained that the main entrance for the low cost tickets is located next to the proposed service station thereby posing grave challenges for football fans to access entrance to the stadium.
“International best practice for sports stadia is such that facilities dealing with flammable substances such as service stations are not authorised to be constructed and operated in close proximity to sporting infrastructure for security and safety reasons,” Mrs. Chipili said.
She observed that the proposed project site for the construction of the fuel filling station is utilised as a parking lot during functions at Woodlands Stadium.
Mrs. Chipili pointed out that allowing the project to go ahead would reduce the parking space and in turn cause more congestion and obstruction of the roads within the vicinity of the stadium.
“Considering the current heavy traffic being experienced during peak hours on Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, close proximity of the proposed development to Mosi-o-Tunya Road would prohibit the expansion of the road in future. We want to create a buffer for future road development,” she said.
Following a public outcry , ZEMA issued a ceasation order on March 14 , 2014 to Spectra Oil Corporation Zambia to halt construction works for the proposed service station because the project was not authorised.
City of Lusaka Football Club Chairman Charles Kaisala defended the club’s action of leasing out land to Spectra Oil Corporation to set up a service station claiming that safety arguments were baseless.
Kaisala stated that the club was currently negotiating with a developer to set up a shopping mall near the club house of Woodlands Stadium.
Meanwhile Mrs. Chipili has urged developers and industries to abide by the environmental laws obtaining in the country and adhere to all legislation relating to country planning when implementing development projects.
She has also implored the general public to be vigilant about environmental matters and report any industries or person contravening the EMA No. 12 of 2011 and its subsidiary regulations.