Spe­ci­al com­mit­tee to re­build Gar­den Rou­te

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus -

Sin­ce the Gar­den Rou­te fi­res of Ju­ne, ma­ny pe­op­le and or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons ha­ve co­me to the aid of tho­se af­fected and ha­ve i­ni­ti­a­ted pro­jects to help the a­rea get back on its feet.

As we build a mo­re pro­spe­rous and re­si­lient Gar­den Rou­te, it is im­por­tant for all of our i­ni­ti­a­ti­ves to be coor­di­na­ted so that max­i­mum im­pact can be a­chie­ved.

To ad­dress this, I met with the ma­yors of E­den Dis­trict and Knys­na and Bi­tou mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties y­e­ster­day and we joint­ly agreed to the es­ta­blishment of the Gar­den Rou­te Re­build Com­mit­tee. This com­mit­tee will de­ve­lop a long­term re­ne­wal plan, con­si­der pro­ject pro­po­sals and en­s­u­re that t­hey are a­de­qua­te­ly fun­ded. The com­mit­tee will in­clu­de the pro­vin­ce, E­den, Knys­na, and Bi­tou mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties, re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the ma­jor pri­va­te do­nors, and NGOs. It will meet on a week­ly ba­sis and pro­vi­de feed­back to the com­mu­ni­ty on pro­gress with pro­jects.

WORK GROUPS

Work groups ha­ve been es­ta­blis­hed that will de­sign and im­ple­ment pro­jects re­la­ted to the fol­lo­wing a­re­as:

Hu­ma­ni­ta­ri­an as­sis­tan­ce, in­clu­ding furt­her trau­ma coun­sel­ling and as­sis­tan­ce in acces­sing go­vern­ment grants and ser­vi­ces.

Re­con­structi­on, in­clu­ding the de­ve­lop­ment of a fra­me­work that will en­s­u­re all new buil­dings are mo­re re­si­lient to di­sas­ters, and the de­ve­lop­ment of a sy­stem to fast-track buil­ding ap­pro­vals. This work group will al­so de­ve­lop tem­po­ra­ry hou­sing so­lu­ti­ons.

En­vi­ron­men­tal ma­na­ge­ment, which will ad­dress slo­pe sta­bi­li­sa­ti­on and a­lien e­ra­di­ca­ti­on.

Bu­si­ness sup­port, for bu­si­nes­ses in dis­tress and to sup­port the es­ta­blishment of new bu­si­nes­ses that can build on the op­por­tu­ni­ties that ha­ve a­ri­sen from the di­sas­ter.

S­kills de­ve­lop­ment, in­clu­ding the pro­vi­si­on of con­structi­on s­kills for lo­cal pe­op­le.

Much of this work is ur­gent. At the sa­me ti­me, a long-term re­ne­wal stra­tegy will be de­ve­lo­ped that will re­sult in le­ga­cy pro­jects ai­med at chan­ging the na­tu­re of our e­co­nomy and im­pro­ving the sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty of our re­si­den­ces and our en­vi­ron­ment.

SO­ME PRO­GRESS

So­me work groups ha­ve al­re­a­dy met and are ma­king pro­gress. The in­fra­struc­tu­re work­group, which is chai­red by E­den Dis­trict mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, has com­ple­ted its pre­li­mi­na­ry as­ses­sment of the da­ma­ge to pu­blic in­fra­struc­tu­re, which, on­ce ve­ri­fied by na­ti­o­nal go­vern­ment, will form the ba­sis for di­sas­ter ma­na­ge­ment fun­ding ap­pli­ca­ti­ons.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal ma­na­ge­ment work group has com­mis­si­o­ned sur­veys of the burn scar to i­den­ti­fy slo­pes at high risk of e­ro­si­on and trees in dan­ger of fal­ling next to ro­ads. The re­sults will be a­vai­la­ble short­ly and will as­sist the work group to pri­o­ri­ti­se a­re­as re­qui­ring ur­gent in­ter­ven­ti­on. The group in­clu­des mem­bers from Knys­na and Bi­tou mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties, Sout­hern Ca­pe Fi­re Pro­tecti­on As­so­ci­a­ti­on, SANParks, Ca­peNa­tu­re, Kis­hu­gu (a pu­blic be­ne­fit or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on), CSIR, B­ren­ton Blue Trust, We­stern He­ads Gou­kam­ma Con­ser­van­cy, Sout­hern Ca­pe Lan­do­w­ners I­ni­ti­a­ti­ve, and the na­ti­o­nal De­part­ments of Fo­re­stry and of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs.

The sa­me ap­pro­ach will be ap­p­lied to the ot­her work groups, which will draw in pu­blic of­fi­ci­als, NGOs, bu­si­ness re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves and/ or ex­perts, de­pen­ding on the fo­cus of the work group. The Gar­den Rou­te is rich with i­de­as and ex­per­ti­se, and by har­nes­sing our lo­cal ta­lent and wor­king to­get­her we can cre­a­te a mo­re pro­spe­rous and re­si­lient Gar­den Rou­te.

MO­NEY MATTERS

The meet­ing al­so dis­cus­sed the ma­ny do­na­ti­ons that ha­ve been re­cei­ved. E­den Dis­trict has re­cei­ved R995 000, Knys­na R1.3mil­li­on (with a­not­her R2-mil­li­on ex­pected soon), and Bi­tou R272 000. This mo­ney will on­ly be spent as the work groups i­den­ti­fy and re­cei­ve com­mit­tee ap­pro­val for pro­jects. It is ex­pected that the first pro­jects un­der­ta­ken with do­na­ted funds will com­men­ce in the next two weeks. Until now, mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties ha­ve been pro­vi­ding sup­port u­sing their ex­is­ting bud­gets.

The bulk of the do­na­ti­ons has been gi­ven to pu­blic be­ne­fit or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons, and the com­mit­tee is re­que­s­ting t­he­se or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons to in­di­ca­te w­hat t­hey ha­ve re­cei­ved and the pur­po­ses for which it was in­ten­ded. We would li­ke to in­clu­de t­he­se or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons in the com­mit­tee’s o­ver­all plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­ti­on pro­ces­ses so that the do­na­ti­ons can be a­lig­ned to w­he­re the needs are. Or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons are as­ked to con­tact Ca­bral Wicht at ca­bral.wicht@wes­ter­n­ca­pe. gov.za.

The Gar­den Rou­te Re­build Com­mit­tee will re­port on furt­her pro­gress ma­de. – Alan Win­de, We­stern Ca­pe mi­nis­ter of e­co­no­mic op­por­tu­ni­ties

Ed no­te: Knys­na-P­lett He­rald has been as­su­red by the Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty that re­a­ders could ex­pect a full re­port on do­na­ti­ons, fi­nan­ci­al grants and the way for­ward next week.

Fi­re chief C­lin­ton Ma­nu­el al­so com­mit­ted to pre­sent his fi­nal fi­re re­port soon.

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