Media Response: Sedgefield Ratepayers meeting feedback
The Edge newspaper (dated 3 July 2013) highlighted feedback from the Sedgefield Ratepayers meeting (on page 8). SANParks wishes to bring these facts to the attention of the Ratepayers and the general public. The response is outlined in point form following the chronological order of the issues raised:
- SANParks incorporated flood mitigation measures in the estuarine implementation plan that forms part of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) management plan, as far as possible without compromising biodiversity. This plan was endorsed by the Minister subsequent to extensive consultation. It is now available on http://www.sanparks.org.za/parks/garden_route/.†
The Swartvlei mouth needs to be artificially breached in line with the Management Plan. SANParks, the Knysna municipality and Sedgefield Ratepayers Association agreed on an emergency breach protocol (confirmed by a letter from the Knysna Municipality, dated 6 March 2013, to the Chairperson of the Sedgefield Ratepayers Association). The Terms of Reference for the hydrological study mentioned in the article was finalised. The next step is to invite ‘expressions of interest’ for the study to be conducted.
- SANParks and the Knysna Municipality are discussing a way forward regarding a long-term, more sustainable intervention to the challenge posed by erosion on the Island. This might include an Environmental Impact Assessment.
- The site ‘Bleshoender Siding’, mentioned in the article, is constantly flooded by natural tidal fluctuation. National Environmental legislation will not allow any form of development on this site. Therefore, the decision to not allow a launching site at Bleshoender was made by the National Department of Environmental Affairs and not SANParks. SANParks is in favour of public access to Swartvlei and a large section of Swartvlei is zoned for recreational use by members of the public.†
- The removal of the whale viewing deck was part of the conditions of approval as set out in the Record of decision in the original EIA for the desalination plant. These conditions were determined by the Department of Environmental Affairs and SANParks cannot change these conditions.
SANParks remains committed to open and public communication with all its stakeholders. The GRNP has dedicated Park Forums where any issues of concern may be raised directly with management.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Garden Route Communications:†
Tel: 044 302 5633
Communications Manager, Garden Route National Park
Tel: 044 302 5633; Cell: 078 702 9663
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