Dis­re­gard for her­i­ta­ge in draft SDF

George Herald - - Briewe | Letters - Re­ad mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s full re­spon­se at www.ge­or­ge­he­rald.com

Dr An­dy La­mont, chair­man of the Ge­or­ge Her­i­ta­ge Trust:

If im­ple­men­ted, a ran­ge of de­ve­lop­ment pro­po­sals in a mu­ni­ci­pal do­cu­ment will de­stroy the cha­rac­ter of Ge­or­ge. Such ill-con­cei­ved pro­po­sals should sim­ply be scrap­ped.

The i­dea that York S­treet and Knys­na Ro­ad should be­co­me con­cre­te jung­les runs a­gainst the va­lu­es that Ge­or­gi­ans che­rish and the u­ni­que sen­se of pla­ce that cha­rac­te­ri­ses the town.

The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in­vi­ted pe­op­le to com­ment on a pro­po­sed new mu­ni­ci­pal spa­ti­al de­ve­lop­ment fra­me­work, which is to gui­de fu­tu­re ur­ban de­ve­lop­ment. Com­ments had to be lod­ged by Wed­nes­day 5 De­cem­ber.

The draft mu­ni­ci­pal plan falls short of the le­gal re­qui­re­ment that a her­i­ta­ge re­gis­ter should be in pla­ce w­hen spa­ti­al plan­ning is do­ne. The Ge­or­ge Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty does not ha­ve a pro­per her­i­ta­ge re­gis­ter, that is, of buil­dings and struc­tu­res of 60 y­e­ars and ol­der, as pres­cri­bed by the Na­ti­o­nal Her­i­ta­ge Re­sour­ces Act.

So­me of the pro­po­sals bla­tant­ly dis­re­gard si­tes of so­cio-his­to­ric im­por­tan­ce, as well as the cul­tu­ral lands­ca­pe.

The spa­ti­al sig­ni­fi­can­ce of York S­treet and the cul­tu­ral lands­ca­pes cre­a­ted at the en­tran­ces to the ur­ban a­rea de­ser­ve pro­tecti­on. We can­not use de­sign gui­de­li­nes which do not cor­re­spond with an ap­pro­ved and cre­di­ble her­i­ta­ge in­ven­to­ry. Mo­re­o­ver a num­ber of her­i­ta­ge re­sour­ces and cul­tu­ral lands­ca­pes ha­ve not been ta­ken in­to ac­count.

The Her­i­ta­ge Trust has in the past of­fe­red to as­sist the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty with the com­pi­la­ti­on of a re­li­a­ble her­i­ta­ge in­ven­to­ry. A cur­rent half-he­ar­ted do­cu­ment in the pos­ses­si­on of the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is sur­pri­singly de­fecti­ve. For ex­am­ple, it does not list the ol­dest buil­ding in Ge­or­ge, the 1815 Pa­tat­huis in Mis­si­on Ro­ad, Pa­calts­dorp, which is the em­blem of the Ge­or­ge Her­i­ta­ge Trust.

The Ge­or­ge Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons secti­on re­spon­ded as fol­lows:

The Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty has been no­ti­fied by Her­i­ta­ge We­stern Cape of the re­qui­re­ments of Secti­on 30 and 31 of the Na­ti­o­nal Her­i­ta­ge Act, 1999. The draft MSDF (mu­ni­ci­pal spa­ti­al de­ve­lop­ment fra­me­work) re­cog­ni­ses the im­por­tan­ce of pro­tecti­on of her­i­ta­ge as­sets to the ef­fect that de­ve­lop­ment of her­i­ta­ge o­ver­lay zo­nes are pro­po­sed to de­fi­ne and ma­na­ge the cha­rac­ter of her­i­ta­ge a­re­as.

Whi­le a her­i­ta­ge in­ven­to­ry was ap­pro­ved by Her­i­ta­ge We­stern Cape in 2016, it was high­lig­h­ted that a mo­re de­tailed re­gis­ter is nee­ded, which in terms of the Act is a pro­vin­ci­al man­da­te. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty i­ni­ti­a­ted an enga­ge­ment with the lo­cal Ge­or­ge Her­i­ta­ge Trust in an at­tempt to le­vera­ge the as­sis­tan­ce from the trust in up­gra­ding the in­ven­to­ry to a re­gis­ter that meets with the re­qui­re­ments of HWC. Gi­ven pre­va­lent bud­get con­straints and the cost of de­ve­lo­ping such a re­gis­ter to the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons of the com­pe­tent aut­ho­ri­ty, and the ex­pec­ta­ti­on that sa­me must be fun­ded by the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, the pro­cess could not be con­clu­ded.

By law the lo­cal aut­ho­ri­ty must at the i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve of HWC in­ves­ti­ga­te the need for the de­sig­na­ti­on of her­i­ta­ge a­re­as at the ti­me of re­vi­si­on or com­pi­la­ti­on of a spa­ti­al plan. As part of this in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on, a fo­cus group ses­si­on was held on 2 Au­gust 2017, which was well at­ten­ded by re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the Ge­or­ge Her­i­ta­ge Trust and the Van der Stel Foun­da­ti­on. Du­ring this ses­si­on the at­ten­dees we­re as­ked to as­sist the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in de­mar­ca­ting the­se her­i­ta­ge a­re­as by me­ans of de­li­ne­a­ti­on on maps that we­re pro­vi­ded. Re­gret­ta­bly no re­spon­se was re­cei­ved from the par­ti­ci­pants and it was re­sol­ved to ad­dress the need for de­mar­ca­ti­on of her­i­ta­ge a­re­as on a stra­te­gic le­vel, which will be­co­me part of the im­ple­men­ta­ti­on stra­tegy of the MSDF, on­ce a­dop­ted.

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