Residents believe the area is already saturated with Padel facilities. Image: Mario Andre Pereira

Padel courts have exploded and are now encroaching on wetlands

Residents in a Johannesburg suburb have raised concerns over a new Padel court development that could effect a nearby wetland.


Residents believe the area is already saturated with Padel facilities. Image: Mario Andre Pereira

Residents in Thornhill Estate, Modderfontein are voicing their dismay over plans to construct new padel courts in the area.

In particular, they have raised concerns about the potential environmental repercussions on a nearby wetland.

The construction company behind the development – Nevada Group – have been singled out for disregarding by-law policies and community input.

A ‘critical buffer zone’

Residents Anita Ferri, Debbie Simpson and Emma Harrage have alleged that the construction encroaches upon a critical buffer zone – a wetland.

This wetland has been a vital habitat for wildlife and was once home to around 100 flamingos, whose numbers have significantly dwindled over time, they said.

The trio explained that when news of the project emerged in late 2023, most residents weren’t aware of it, and by then it was too late for public comment.

“By the time people started jumping up and down, there wasn’t enough time for everyone to process and get on board to object,” they told the Bedfordview and Edenvale News.

Residents said that initially they were informed of plans to build a sports development complex a short distance from the dam, but close to the Gautrain line.

They are now accusing the construction company of a lack of transparency.

Already enough Padel facilities

Residents are also questioning the need to build additional Padel courts in an area they believe is already saturated with such facilities.

“The lack of transparency and public consultation needs to be addressed,” the trio added.

“We also want to know how the company got permission to build on a wetland. Will they continue until they have destroyed the environment in Modderfontein?”

Amidst these grievances, Councillor Dimakatso Moloisane of Ward 32 has echoed the residents’ sentiments.

He said that four years ago, Region E for Development Planning had rejected the proposal of a development at the dam due to environmental concerns.

He said that according to his knowledge, the approval of the Padel development doesn’t appear on the system.

“For a new development to take place, it must first be circulated. Several departments should have also been allowed to comment on it,” Moloisane said.

Moloisane plans to write to the MEC of Development and Planning and Forensics for further investigation.