Overberg municipality promotes ABI support

The Overberg District Municipality is encouraging conservancies to support the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) in its draft Spatial Development Framework. The concept document was presented at the Overberg Integrated Conservation Group meeting, held in Bredasdorp on 24 October.

In the draft framework, the municipality says it wishes to “encourage conservancies to protect conservation priority vegetation in the area and to support the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative”. ABI is a landscape initiative that aims to serve as a conservation coordination hub for the Overberg region.

The framework urges integration of the conservation of natural resources into agricultural activities, and emphasises threatened renosterveld. According to the plan, it aims to also promote the northward extension of the Agulhas National Park to include the Renosterveld Floral Reserve south of Napier along the Bredasdorp mountains.

At the same time, the new Spatial Development Framework looks to promote development across the Overberg, including redeveloping the air force as a commercial airport. A mixed passenger rail service could be developed for passengers and goods between Bredasdorp and Grabouw, while also establishing a vintage rail service, and upgrading station precincts at Botriver, Grabouw and Hermanus.

The ODM will highlight road upgrades between Elim and Gansbaai, and Caledon and Hermanus through the Hemel and Aarde Valley, and will develop a tourism route between Bredasdorp and Malgas.

The municipality intends to focus on land reform in the coming years. It will focus on a two-stage structure: an enterprise incubator stage and a stand-alone entrepreneur cooperative stage. During the former, existing projects will be consolidated and receive increased support. At the same time, land will be acquired at production value to create a land bank for future stand-alone entrepreneurial projects in farming, conservation and tourism. During the second phase, entrepreneurs will be helped to buy their own properties out of this land bank.

For more information on the draft Spatial Development Framework, contact Nigel Titus at nigel@cndv.co.za.

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