Wa — Indiscriminate issuance of building permit to land developers without recourse to spatial planning has been blamed for the cause of flooding incidents in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region.
An architect and infrastructure planner with the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA), Ms Joyce Eledi Kuusaana, stated this on the sidelines of a town hall meeting held in Wa by the GIA on Wednesday.
She explained that currently all manner of structures were built without reference to the master or original plan of the city such that some fuel filling stations were on waterways.
“These days valleys that used to collect water after rain have mostly been filled to allow for the erection of filling stations and these are visible in the town and you wonder who gave them the permits for their siting. If you delve deeper, you will notice that planning officers are included in the permit issuance so we tend to wonder if these officers do really understand spatial planning and proper land use,” she said.
The architect, therefore, blamed officers at the municipal assembly in charge of issuing building permits to persons to erect structures, expressing worry that their attitude was gradually turning the municipality into an area prone to flooding and other disasters.
Ms Kuusaana said the situation was more worrying because water ways were being filled with sand to make way for the construction of fuel stations and other structures in the municipality.
She said the practice had also led to unplanned communities in the municipality and that if the trend continued, the municipality would become a hotspot for flooding in the near future.
She expressed the belief that proper planning of the town would help prevent some natural disasters and called on the city authorities to ensure that.
Ms Kuusaana said proper coordination among the planning officers of the various assemblies across the region, the Land Commission, GIA, land owners and other stakeholders could check the menace.
“We cannot stop giving out land because as the population grows, people will need land for settlement, for business and for other purposes so we need to train some of these stakeholders about planning and get them involved to know existing plans for the lands available,” the infrastructure planner said.
Some of the participants from the district assemblies expressed worry about the seeming politicisation of urban land acquisition as it was sometimes difficult preventing a developer from acquiring a specific space for a project which was entirely different from what had been indicated on the original plan.
“Sometimes you put your life on the line to stop a developer from acquiring a particular piece of land but some way, somehow, they are able to acquire and use it for purposes other than what it is intended for,” one participant said and called for strict adherence to designs and blueprints for land.
The Wa Municipality has in recent times experienced some flooding involving water entering the homes of people living in low-lying areas and around big drains and sometimes getting major streets and roads submerged for hours.
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Publish date : 2023-09-15 13:33:21