Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 05 April 2011
Princessvlei, a small shallow wetland situated in the Retreat area of the Cape Flats, remains the subject of a tug of war between developers and conservationists.
Thirteen years ago in 1998 Insight Property Developers set their sights on the property and approached the City of Cape Town with an unsolicited proposal to purchase the land. The plan was to build a shopping centre on the eastern portion of public open space land of around 9000 m2.
Approval was given subject to the outcome of inter-alia, a Public Participation Process, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and rezoning of the property (to business).
After the Developer (Insight) advertised the rezoning application in 2002 a Record of Decision (RoD) was issued by the Dept of Environmental Affairs – valid for 4 years. Conditions of this DEA authorisation included the removal of all alien vegetation in and around the whole vlei as well as the removal of all indigenous topsoil and vegetation from the proposed activity area for the re-vegetation of disturbed areas.
It was concluded that the proposed development would result in a socio-economic boost for the region, providing opportunities to, among others, improve the usage of the park and promote environmental education.
Since 2008, and following a Biodiversity Network Study, Princessvlei was shown to be anything but an erf with low conservation value. It is, in fact, quite critical. Continue reading