First Sustainable Development Workshop for Biosphere
The first sustainable development workshop for biosphere was a great success!
A two-day workshop on the sustainable development in the transitional zone of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve was held in Betty's Bay* on 25 and 26 January 2023.
Day 1 started with a welcoming address by Cllr Clinton Lerm who is the responsible Mayoral Committee Member for Infrastructure and Investment for the Overstrand Municipality. In his address, Cllr Lerm focused on the word ‘TOLERANCE’.
He made mention of the fact that a lot of the empty plots within the biosphere were in fact sold many years ago and the original owners (or even their children) now wants to build on the plots. He continued by saying that owners have a right to build.
He emphasised that the importance of this workshop was to ensure that measures are put in place so that any development takes place within the necessary guidelines. All the organisations represented and individuals at the workshop present had the opportunity to look at these guidelines and put forward suggestions for necessary changes.
Various organisations from the area introduced themselves and gave a short run down of what they do. These included the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company (KBRC), Cape Nature, the Overstrand Municipality, the Overberg District Municipality (ODM) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF).
After the break there were presentations and these included a presentation on Building Regulations by the Overstrand Municipality, the EIA process by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) and Water Act Regulations by the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA). The final presentation of Day 1 was by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), regarding Wetlands.
Plenty of time was allowed for questions and answers after each presentation, with the audience taking full advantage of this opportunity. All in all; it was a great day with a lot of valid inputs made and received.
Day two started off with sobering results of a complex integrated socio-ecological model of the biosphere, showing the interconnectivity of financial insecurity in the Elgin farming areas to more frequent fire regimes in the fynbos biome, crime and poaching.
The synopsis of the Overstrand Spacial Development Framework (SDF), the Environmental Management Overlay Zone (EMOZ) and Environmental Management Framework (EMF) was presented to show the green spaces within the urban areas of the Hangklip-Kleinmond villages.
At the final session of Day 2 the attendees gathered into four brainstorming groups to put their heads and expertise together.
The purpose was to propose innovative ways for conservation groups to work together with the Overstrand Environmental Management and Operational Departments to improve ecologically sensitive infrastructure maintenance and find solutions to deal with wildlife in the urban area, education initiatives aimed at potential new buyers in the villages and concepts and guidelines for ecologically sensitive residential home designs.
Partnerships and education were the key words heard by the ‘Listening Committee’ who moved from group to group.
The workshop was a fantastic opportunity for the conservation groups of the Hangklip to Kleinmond villages to network with the officials from Provincial, Regional and local government and to better understand the challenges the municipal officials face.
The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and Overstrand Municipality, who organised this ‘first’ workshop, are very grateful to all who came from near and far and would like to thank all the officials and representatives of the villages for sharing their collective knowledge, experience and very importantly the wonderful positive solution-based atmosphere that pervaded throughout the two days.