The public has been asked for its input on the Klipriviersberg Conservancy Development Integrated Team’s terms of reference, which will help guide development in the environmentally sensitive area.
THE Klipriviersberg Conservancy has established a Development Integrated Team to manage, control and integrate all future developments in the area and is calling on residents to comment on and give suggestions for the terms of reference to which the team will adhere.
The conservancy is home to a host of indegenous treesThe conservancy is home to a host of indegenous treesThe conservancy, located in the south of the city, is approximately 150 square kilometres in size and features open veld and koppies filled with about 150 species of birds and 650 indigenous plants and trees. It lies between the N12 highway to the north (the Southern Bypass), the R59 highway to the east (the Vereeniging Highway), the R550 and R554 south of the Klip River and the N1 highway to the west (Vanderbijlpark Highway).
In September 2010, the conservancy held a public meeting to discuss concerns around urban development in the southern parts of Johannesburg. While development in the area is inevitable, there is a strong need for it to be handled in a responsible manner, with careful consideration of the environment.
Andrew Barker, the chairman of the conservancy’s executive committee, says: “A principle objective of the Klipriviersberg Conservancy is to protect, promote and enhance the natural assets of the Klip River, Klipriviersberg ridges and associated grasslands.
“This is to be achieved by encouraging landowners and developers to be environmentally aware and to embrace the practice and principles of sustainable development. The Klipriviersberg Conservancy is being proactive by endeavouring to establish mutually beneficial relationships with property developers.”
Following that meeting and in response to the requirements of the community, a Development Integrated Team was established as a sub-committee of the conservancy. It has a clear mandate regarding management, control and integration of development in the area. This is to ensure that natural assets will be protected and promoted, and will help to enhance sustainable urban growth and development.
Urban developmentDevelopment in the conservatory should ensure natural assets are protected“Where possible, the conservancy will work with developers to realise development that is appropriate and fits into the area,” says Barker.
“Environmental issues are gaining momentum within the community and government and through proactive participation and involvement, the conservancy aims to make a positive contribution in the decision-making of the environmental and planning processes regarding development.”
The team has drafted terms of reference that it will use as a guide; the document is open to public review and for people to provide comments or suggestions before 31 March.
A conservancy is a registered, voluntary association that aims to co-operate in managing natural resources in an environmentally friendly manner without changing the land use of the property. It includes a group of concerned individuals who volunteer to safeguard and protect the integrity and wellbeing of this designated area of diverse rural and urban environments.
The Klipriviersberg Development Integrated Team draft terms of reference can be viewed on the conservancy’s website. Any suggestions can be sent to Andrew Barker via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The southern suburbs of Johannesburg have, to a large degree, been regarded as the Cinderellas of the city,” explains Barker.
“Whilst the northern, western and eastern areas of Joburg have been developed to such an extent that, in many instances, roads and other services are fast becoming unable to bear the population and development loads, it is only relatively recently that intense interest has become focused on the southern areas.”
The conservancy covers unspoiled rural areasThe conservancy covers unspoiled rural areasThe conservancy covers rural areas, unspoiled and environmentally untransformed, as well as residential, business and other developed urban areas. The 680ha Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is the largest proclaimed nature reserve in Johannesburg.
The area has considerable tourism, recreational, cultural, educational and developmental potential, but needs proper and careful environmental management and protection from unpleasant and inappropriate development.
The Klipriviersberg Conservancy, launched in April 2010, is one of the most challenging and important projects to be initiated in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg for many years.
Barkers says: “Not only is it the sheer size of the area covered by the conservancy that determines its significance but also the rich, largely unspoilt diversity of the terrain of ridges, grasslands, wetlands and rivers included in its boundaries.”
It is a visionary project, with a long-term upside. In 2008, speaking about the benefits of setting up a conservancy, he said: “Encouraging residents and businesses to participate and landowners to register their properties as part of a conservancy would go a long way to managing and retaining the natural beauty of the area – and would have considerable other positive spin-offs, such as the promotion of business, tourism and recreational facilities in the area.”
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