International company threatens human rights
Summary of Trasacco Estates Development Company’s Environmental Impacts Statement for the proposed Hilton Resort & Spa and Turtle Bay Private Residences
These notes are made by our team who has read the +300-page Environmental Impacts Statement report submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana by Trasacco Estates Development Company, and we have created these notes to make the report accessible to the community and interested parties:
Note: If anyone has contacts with Hilton please allow them to see the gross injustices and abuses which are going on in their name
Brief of proposed project
Trasacco Estates Development Company (TEDC) intends to develop the Ada Foah Hilton Resort & Spa and Turtle Bay Private Residences in the Greater Accra Region, approximately 100 km east of Accra.
The site encompasses 29.5 acres (11.8 ha) of land with frontage along the Volta estuary and along the beach of the Gulf of Guinea and work began in 2014. The finished hotel The Ada Foah Hilton Resort Project will be operated by Hilton International Management. The project will be a complex of 97 one-, two- and three-bedroom private estate chalets and a 60-room hotel.
The Volta river estuary is the largest in Ghana and forms the eastern tip of the Songor Ramsar Site. Songor provides nesting habitat for four species of globally threatened turtles, two species of mangroves, 57 species of migratory birds, manatees and other diverse species of flora and fauna.
There will be public and private areas on the resort and estuary, and it will be vehicle free by boat only.
Development of the luxury resort will also involve the relocation of the Kewunor community to Azizanya Ayigbo. A census of households and individuals in the Kewunor community to be resettled under the project together with affected buildings and dwellings was undertaken in 2014. An update of this census is to be completed in September 2019. Other plans including designs of resettlement buildings have also been completed and ready to be discussed with the affected persons, the Ada East District Assembly and the traditional authorities concerned. Further to discussions with the EPA, a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) was presented to the Agency in May 2019.
Project Justification and Objectives
The objectives of the project are to:
• Construct and operate a resort at the Volta Estuary in the Ada Foah in the Greater Accra Region;
• Contribute to the increase of the stock of tourism, culture and creative arts facilities in the country;
• Contribute to conservation of biodiversity in the Volta Estuary;
• Provide corporate social responsibility programmes that embrace youth education, local fish farming, turtle protection and ecological support for the Volta Estuary;
• Provide increased employment opportunities to improve the standard of living within the local and surrounding communities.
TEDC intends to relocate the current residents to Azizanya Ayigbo, a 6 ha location 1.7 km to the west of the present Kewunor site. The relocation scheme will involve:
Provision of improved homes for residents of Kewunor;
Construction of a new clinic to serve Kewunor and its environs;
Improved access to potable water;
Sanitary facilities to serve the entire community;
Construction of a new market and facility for smoking of fish;
Construction of a new basic school block to provide access to quality education to the youth of the community;
According to a census of Kewunor conducted by TEDC in 2014, the total number of qualified households to be allocated new houses is 171. It is proposed that 140 one-bed units, made up 28 blocks will be constructed. Thirteen other blocks will be constructed consisting of 24 two bed units. The allocation will be made depending on the type of house to be vacated.
Resort construction activities will be undertaken in 6 phases as indicated in the Project Development Masterplan
Phase 1 consists of the erection of 21 residential chalets along the sea front and at the tip of the estuary. It does not affect any of the current settlers. Phase 1 commenced in 2014 with the erection of 2 chalets and continued in 2018 with the setting out of the remaining 19 chalets of the resort.
Phase 2 consists of the erection of 12 Chalets on land and along the river front. It will affect the Midas beach club and therefore will commence once an agreement has been reached with the occupiers of the Midas Beach Club. TEDC is holding talks with the occupiers on their relocation or compensation.
Phase 3 will consist of the erection of the Private Marina for private boat access to the site; a club house for tourist and residents; civil works, utilities and landscaping works. It will affect the Maranatha Beach Camp and therefore will only commence when an agreement has been reached with the occupiers of the beach camp. TEDC is holding talks with the occupiers on their relocation or compensation. Phase 3 will complete the private section of the entire scheme proposed.
Phase 4 consists of the development of the Hotel resort, including installations of potable water and both solid and liquid waste treatment plants. This will affect the Kewunor community. Details of their proposed relocation including the relocation masterplan was presented to stakeholders on the 25th of March 2018 at a workshop held in Accra. TEDC would be providing new community infrastructure for the Kewunor community affected by the development. The proposed relocation design will be reviewed with the community as soon the community relations strategy being developed is finalized.
Phase 5 will consist of repair to any damage to the sea sand ridge and construction of an access route to the resort from Ada Foah.
Phase 6 will consist of the construction of the chalets on stilts.
Relocation of Kewunor Community the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), on 23 March 2015, submitted a draft Agreement to TEDC on the relocation of the Kewunor Community. This draft Agreement between GTA, Ada East District Assembly and TEDC, was subsequently forwarded to the Ada East District Assembly by TEDC on 11 May 2018.
Erosion Control and Marine Conservation Measures
The project will rely on already existing sea defense groynes to prevent erosion of the site. In addition, geotextile mats will be used to stabilize the soil and support growth of vegetation to be planted. On minimizing the impact of erosion in an unstable estuarine environment, TEDC plans to conduct a specialist study with modeling on long- and short-term beach morphological changes.
A turtle protection programme for the project site will be developed and implemented in collaboration with the Forestry Commission’s Wildlife Division. Also, TEDC will establish a non-profit, Ada Foah Eco Foundation to fund the protection of turtles, fish and the delta ecosystem through voluntary contributions small percentage levies from guests of the resort.
Scoping report statements about the resettlement of Kewunor
Alienating the Kewunor and Azizanya communities is the biggest risk to the project;
There is need to consider existing local content and conditions, which can avoid the proposed relocation;
The designs of the buildings for the resettlement of the project-affected-persons need to take into consideration the culture of the community;
The community reiterated that any developer attempting to take over their land will be met with fierce resistance, citing the example of Manet Company, which took over parts of Azizanya Mataheko for development without any compensation to the project affected persons;
The actual process of relocating residents of Kewunor to Azizanya Ayigbo has the potential of generating multiple negative impacts such as demonstrations, local and international protests, open confrontation and loss of lives.
Other topics covered in the report
Waste systems, erosion methods in the past and present, hotel and estate structures, general info about Ada aqua life, delta life, fauna, flora, water quality, air quality, population, education, health, culture, economy, flora, noise and vibration, and turtle protection.
Call for notes and comments on the report
The EPA and TEDC are now allowing for any stakeholder, community member, or association who understands the Environmental Impacts Statement to write and submit any notes and comments concerning the project.