VERKYKERSKOP LOCAL AREA SDF Second Consultation Session with Interested and Affected Parties 23 March 2007
Agenda • Welcoming and Attendance • Local Area SDF Work Plan • Background • Legal Mandate • Local Area SDF & Development Concept • Interested and Affected Parties Inputs and Concerns
Legal Mandate • LMV was approved & appointed by Phumelela to compile a Local Area SDF • Local Area SDF preparation approved by Council in terms Section 120 of the Municipal Systems Act (32/2000) • First consultation with GOs and representatives of land owners and representatives of NGOs • Second consultation with Interested and Affected Parties
Background • Verkykerskop is a small services node to the surrounding agriculture community. • All of the involved land is privately owned • The study area for the MSDF is approximately a 1000 ha • Land is exclusively used for farming, although the agricultural potential of the larger portion is considered marginal • Current land uses include residential (60 families), guesthouses, commercial (general store & restaurants, Co-op), agricultural-related uses such as auction pens & VBV hall and institutional (SAPS) and post office
Development ConceptSDF Structure: Urban • Inner village / town square • Commercial • apartments • “Dorp” residential erven • to cover economic spectrum • Subsistence / organic / gardens • Country-inn and guesthouses • Institutional • Agricultural: VBV • Sport, cultural tourism activities
Development ConceptSDF Structure: Rural • Equestrian ranch and working farm • Nature reserve including residential • west: hunter’s lodge • east: game, birding and fly-fishing; health spa • Agricultural • Crop farming to continue on high potential agricultural land • Marginal and fallow fields to be rehabilitated • Urban fringe concept • Note: Residential density to decrease from urban centre • Sport, cultural tourism activities
Development ConceptHousing • To cover broad economic spectrum • Various themes & Architectural style • Housing options • Variation of density and size
Development ConceptEnvironmental Framework • GIS overlays of environmentally sensitive areas • Cultural heritage resources to be protected and capitalised on, e.g. archaeological sites • Biodiversity • Habitat protection and rehabilitation, e.g. wetlands, soil conservation and rehabilitation • Species conservation, e.g. cranes, bald ibis, sungazer lizards (“ouvolk”) • Reintroduction of rare endemic species, e.g. oribi’s • Capitalisation on resources, e.g. stargazing • Development opportunity zones, e.g. no-go zones, limited opportunity zones, etc.
Development ConceptServices • Alternative renewable energy sources • Private provision of bulk services (utility company) • Water (investigate geo-hydrological options) • Central treatment of sewerage • Grey water usage • Solid waste removal • Electricity (renewable, supplementary to ESKOM power) • Roads and streets • Landing strip • Roads Project
Development ConceptAgriculture • Agricultural guidelines in terms of National Legislation and local experience • Soil conservation and rehabilitation • High potential land to be utilised as working farm (subsistence farming) • Agricultural experimentation, intensification and diversity
Development ConceptUrban Design Principles • Strong urban design influence resulting in: • Design places for people • Enrich the existing • Make connections • Work with the landscape • Mixed uses and forms • Manage the investment • Design for change • Examples
Development ConceptTourism • Unlocking the potential of the northern section of the Maloti Tourism Route (establishment of a node) • Capitalise on existing resources • Catalyst / Partnerships • Tourist destination halfway between Durban and Johannesburg – just off the N3
Development ConceptTourism: Existing • Vistas of the eastern escarpment, e.g. three scenic passes, snow in winter • Birding destination (linked with Memel – RAMSAR site, a wetland of international importance) • Braamhoek hydro-electrical scheme • Witkoppen Nature Reserve • Altitude (2 000 m plus) • Sites of archaeological significance • Adventure sport, e.g. rock climbing • Hunting/ wing-shooting
Development ConceptTourism: Existing • Old Mill and general dealer • Organised equestrian activities • Autumn festival • Agro-tourism • Horse breeding, sports and auction • Cultural tourism / exploitation of indigenous knowledge • Flyfishing • Offroading • Existing Guesthouses & Restaurant in (Verkykerskop)
Department of Agriculture • Protect farmer’s interests • Determine potential of agricultural land and no-go agricultural land using soil samples in consultation with Dept. of Agriculture (local advisor) – indicate as layer on GIS • No smallholdings • Agricultural land inside SDF area not excluded as Agricultural Land in terms of 70/1970
Department of Tourism, Environmental and Economic Affairs • Confirm importance of detailed EIA process and EMP • Departmental input in SDF process • Impact of the development on surrounding area, e.g. light pollution • Policing to ensure compliance with EMP (environmental control officer by Home Owners’ Association) • Statement: [Developers/ land owners confirm that environmental setting is important to them and that it will be protected as such]
Department of Tourism, Environmental and Economic Affairs • Concern regarding establishment of alien species • Concern regarding offroading • Availability of documentation • Protection of existing resources (“environmental attractions”) • Concern regarding impact on surrounding area • DTEEA to identify certain key environmental role-players • Tourism inputs to be gathered from DC (refer to existing study)
Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport • Timeframe for development to allow planning on the side of the Department (estimated 2 years) • Pedestrians (development on both sides of the road) • Increased traffic • Consultation with road project engineers (Rudnat) • Traffic calming/ slowing down measures to be discussed with department • Building lines and building restrictions (relaxation possible) • Parking
South African Police Service • Upgrading of facilities in progress (36 staff) • Existing facilities may be upgraded in future • Residential component
Department of Local Government and Housing (Spatial Planning Directorate) • More detailed required by Dept. before SDF can be assessed/ is approved • SDF to address area of development/ development densities/ define terms, e.g. mixed land use/ detail regarding development zones • Availability of bulk services and max. development potential • “Alternative” service provision options • Fresh approach (continuous liaison with department) • Origin of existing land uses (refer to title deeds, permits, etc.) • Impact of development on existing settlement/ service node
Interested and Affected Parties (IAPs): Inputs and concerns • Uncertainty; why Verkykerskop?; current status quo • Concern regarding expectations? • Registration of IAPs • Extent/ scope of development • Existing property of VBV is excluded • Concern regarding the provision of water • Protection of subsurface water • Protection of existing water permits and rights • Interest in development • Idea is the development of luxury town • Benefit for local community?
IAPs : Inputs and concerns • Security concern and concern regarding impact on existing farming practices • Sewerage management? • Relation to macro strategy – SDFs (Memel, Harrismith, Vrede, Warden) • Necessity of development? • Development guidelines • FSPG and community requires more information • Verkykerskop is not a housing development to address housing shortages
IAPs : Inputs and concerns • All further initiatives are put on hold until SDF has been approved • FSPG: There are 2 processes 1.) SDF 2.) Detailed applications • Define terms • Agendas and objectives • This meeting is now termed Verkykerskop Local Area SDF and not Verkykerskop Micro SDF (references amended) • VBV states that they are not in favour of any development already proposed • Select representatives • Prepare website downloads • Meetings to be held on days other than Mo. and Fri.
IAPs : Inputs and concernsDiscussion session with farm workers • The aim of the session was explained, confirming that preparation of a SDF is not detail planning, but a pre–detailed planning process, merely to determine the development potential of the existing Verkykerskop village and immediately surrounding areas • The SDF study area, an approximate 800 ha area, were explained • The details of the SDF process and its representative structures was explained, confirming the status of the farm workers as stakeholders • Emphasis was, however, placed on the fact that the session was convened neither to discuss a housing scheme nor a project for the establishment of a future “location”.
I&APs : Inputs and concernsDiscussion session with farm workers • It was clearly stated that all the involved properties of the study area, are privately owned and, • that the foreseen housing (if allowed) will be sold on the open market. • Existing residents will, however, be accommodate as far as possible • Exceedingly limited opportunists will be accommodated as future labour force for the envisaged developments, should it be considered. • Concerns were raised regarding where farm workers should settle. The local municipality's desire that the surrounding towns should be used for this purpose, was also conveyed.
I&APs : Inputs and concernsDiscussion session with farm workers • There is thus no possibility of a so-called “off-farm” resettlement programme and it was not the aim of preparing a SDF for the study area. • The desires of the Local Municipality were also conveyed that, should any construction follow in future, local labour should be used • Additional employment opportunities will be created, although it will not be significant, especially should authorisation be granted for tourist-related high-cost residential settlement
I&APs : Inputs and concernsDiscussion session with farm workers • A representative of the Ward Committee for Ward 5 also explained the process and the Municipal Council’s approach to the SDF • She confirmed that it is not an endeavour to provide a housing project and “give-away” (RDP) houses • Details of the session will be conveyed, by her, to the respective Ward Councilor, who will be approached to also attend future meetings
Way Forward • Preparation of Draft Local Area SDF • Circulation of Draft Local Area SDF for comment • Second consultation with Interested and Affected Parties • Submission of Local Area SDF for approval by the Local Municipality • Submission to the Free State Provincial Government