View All Blogs Register Login
Hot Spots

Going Native
Going Native
News from Port Elizabeth
News from Port Elizabeth
News from Jeffreys Bay
News from Jeffreys Bay
News from Port Alfred
News from Port Alfred
La Femme
La Femme
Job Zone
Job Zone
Business Directory
Business Directory

Botanical vision for PE’s parks
09 May 2011
Guy Rogers

NELSON Mandela Bay will soon have its own Kirstenbosch, creating the possibility for a major upswing in environmental protection, tourism and job creation.

The news was announced by the metro’s environment portfolio chairman Councillor Noluthando Mapu, at a biodiversity celebration function at Cape Town’s famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a landmark attraction in the Mother City.

The event was hosted by the Wilderness Foundation, which is based in Port Elizabeth, and guests included representatives from key local authorities in the  fynbos belt of the western and eastern Cape together with leading conservationists, businessmen, artists, and social activists.

Mapu said the botanical garden is one of a number of projects that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) is working on, with the aim of protecting and utilising its huge environmental wealth.

Asked further about the project, NMBM environment management director Joram Mkosana told The Herald the development will include St George’s and Victoria parks, plus Settlers’ Park through to and including Dodd’s Farm in the Baakens River Valley.

In the same approach that has worked successfully at Kirstenbosch, the over-arching theme will be a celebration of indigenous biodiversity, but the existing parks will be themed in different ways. Victoria Park, will focus on vulnerable and endangered plant species, St George’s on plants from around South Africa and Settlers’ on plants endemic to this region while at Dodd’s Farm the vision is recreation with a mountain bike park and even an overnight lodge.

The areas will be linked by a suitable tourist-friendly and low-emissions’ transport system, possibly using golf carts. Jobs will be created through this and all other segments of the project.

Mkosana said much of the security issues that have beset the Baakens Valley would be solved by the botanical garden project.

“Up to and including Dodd’s Farm it will be fully fenced as part of the botanical garden, and there will be full security in keeping with this development. That will leave less of the valley, higher up, to secure against the muggers. We will have guys patrolling but not as many will be needed because the area will be smaller.”

The tender for the project is due to be issued soon and work on it will get  under way before the end of the year, if not sooner, he said.

In related comments, NMBM public health department executive-director Dr Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni said she had been excited by the suggestion by permaculture activist Naomi Suzane communicated in The Herald’s Elephant’s Ear column that communities living alongside the Baakens could be involved in a programme to look after the valley, with reduction of water or power  tariffs as an incentive.

The incentives would tie in with the recognition of the huge economic value of environmental services, she noted.  Earlier in the evening, a presentation by the SA National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) flagged the figure of R10-billion a year as the total economic value of the fynbos-dominated  or “Cape Floristic Region”  – of which the NMBM forms the western border.

As one of the hottest botanical hotspots in the world, the region includes 9600 plant species, 70% per cent of which are found nowhere else on the planet.

Sanbi programme manager Mandy Barnett told the members of the audience that, with these figures in mind, they had a critical role to play in helping to make wise environmental decisions.

“These are decisions which create jobs and deliver services, but which also protect the natural systems that underpin our economy and society.

“Protecting large areas of fynbos can have great benefits – improving water supply in our catchments, promoting sustainable agriculture for food security, creating jobs in tourism and environmental public works and buffering against increased floods, droughts and fires with climate change.”

Chabula-Nxiweni also liked the scheme presented at the function by the little Bergrivier municipality which focused on the integration of art into their public open spaces.

Bergrivier municipal manager Christa le Roux said the scheme was aimed at protecting but also using their unique biodiversity to stimulate tourism and create greater opportunities and enjoyment for a wider cross-section  of residents.

Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni said the scheme could work well in the NMBM.

“ I think our township artists would be interested in the concept. It would be a way for our people to develop an intrinsic gift which was stifled by apartheid.”

In her speech, Mapu also highlighted the efforts been made by the NMBM to link its much-envied public open space systems including Van der Kemp’s Kloof.

Asked about this and the controversial stone quarry project which got  under way this year in the middle of the kloof after receiving a controversial approval from the national department of mineral resources, Mkosana confirmed that the NMBM had lodged their objection to the project.

“All we can do now is to monitor it closely through the five years which it has been given and to ensure that they rehabilitate it properly.”

 



Add your comment

To comment on this article please login or register

Recent Articles

Water biggest issue in Karoo ‘fracking’ debate

THE moratorium on the exploration of the Karoo for gas needs to be lifted so that further studies on the process can be done. This is according to Dr Danie Vermeulen, director of the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State.

Another attack at festering Arlington

ANOTHER knife attack has occurred at Arlington Waste Disposal Site. The attack, which took place on Saturday afternoon, comes amid calls by the DA for an investigation into the chaotic state of the site and questionable swopping of contractors.

Schoenies otter takes fishing lessons

IT’S one of the iconic wild animals of the metro’s open spaces, but it’s not often seen – certainly not clambering onto the rocks right under your feet. But that was the experience of fishing buddies Gavin Curtis and Stuart Duckenfield who were trying their luck with light tackle and pilchards at Schoenies yesterday (August 10 2011).

Cause and effect of climate change explained

SO HOW to communicate the complexity and magnitude of climate change to youngsters from a little school in Zwide? The kids, in grades six and seven at Mzimhlophe Primary School, were given the answer to this question during their visit to the SA Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (Samrec) yesterday (August 03 2011).

R1.5-million farming venture will fit Eastern Cape to a tea

THE Eastern Cape government has set aside R1.5-million to kick-start an expanded honeybush tea industry that could be ramped up to produce a turnover of R100-million a year and hundreds of new jobs. The good news follows on the results that have emerged from a study of the honeybush industry, commissioned by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) on behalf of the provincial economic development and environmental affairs department.

Snowed-in guards airlifted to safety

NINETEEN stock-theft guards stationed on the top of the Drakensberg have been plucked to safety as heavy snow presses in on their lonely outposts. The guards are housed alone or in pairs in 10 shipping containers, at key points along the Lesotho border with the north-eastern Eastern Cape, in the Rhodes area.

Algoa Bay the best monitored in all of Africa

ALGOA Bay is now “the best monitored bay in Africa” with millions of rands worth of equipment installed below the surface measuring a wide range of environmental conditions. That was the proud revelation yesterday (July 28 2011) from SA Environmental Observation Network (Saeon) co-ordinator Shaun Deyzel, who was speaking at a marine science symposium hosted by SA National Parks, at the Addo Elephant National Parks.

Mantis in new Nigeria deal

PORT Elizabeth based tourism group Mantis Collection has announced a bold expansion into West Africa with a landmark, multi-million US dollar deal signed in PE yesterday (July 25 2011) to roll out a sumptuous suite of boutique hotels in Nigeria. Mantis founder Adrian Gardiner signed the deal at Shamwari Townhouse in Summerstrand with highly respected Nigerian businessman Nze Chidi Duru, who is the chairman of Abuja-based Grand Towers Plc. The Nigerian company has interests in the pension, banking, retail, communications, IT and hospitality sectors.

Surf event sets greening benchmark

BILLABONG Pro J-Bay is setting a benchmark for international surfing contests with a comprehensive programme to protect the local environment and combat global climate change.

Karoo farmers take their fracking probe to Jo’burg oil summit

A SMALL Karoo farmers’ association is so concerned about fracking, and damning new evidence out of the US, it is funding the R10000 bill demanded for a four-day oil and gas conference in Johannesburg, to allow one of its members to attend.

Swell job for man with decades of experience

WITH the small waves prevailing yesterday (Sunday July 17 2011) for the Billabong Pro J-Bay, all surfing mojos are focused on the second week of the contest and the swell that, it is hoped, will still set things on fire. The man with un-paralleled expertise in this department is contest director Eric Stedman, 54, who has been scanning synoptic charts, fiddling with barometers and assessing wind direction since he was a grommit back in East London in the 1960s. It also helps that he began surfing Jeffreys Bay 43 years ago.

New official whale watching operator launch in the bay

ALGOA Bay’s first boat-based boat-based whale-watching operation in a decade has been officially launched – and already some exciting sightings are being reported. Lloyd Edwards of Raggy Charters, the company awarded the boat-based whale watching (BBWW) license for Algoa Bay, said yesterday (July 14 2011) he spotted the cow and calf pair of southern right whales off Algorax earlier this week.

Super surf contest starts at J-Bay

THE latest edition of one of the great global surfing contests, built around an iconic right-hand point break, was launched in Jeffreys Bay last night (Wednesday July 14 2011).

Unique source of Bay water

HOW many cities in the world can say they get their water from a World Heritage Site? Very few, I bet. Yet, that’s the case with Port Elizabeth and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and in fact the Gamtoos River Valley vege farmers.

Bayworld raggies returned to the ocean

THE biggest baddest pair from Bayworld’s de-commissioned aquarium, two bulky raggedtooth sharks, were released yesterday (July 26 2011) back into the sea. It was a sad day for the oceanarium, where they have lived for nearly two decades, inspiring awe in hundreds of thousands of visitors – but it is good news for the species, as the pair are now part of a research project aimed at securing our waters as one of the few safe havens in the world for raggies.

Dairy farm could close soon

BUSHY Park Dairy Farm, a flagship “proudly Port Elizabeth” business and a much-loved feature of the metro for the past 20 years, is facing closure. The shock news was confirmed yesterday (June 21 2011) by managing trustee Puffer Hartzenberg, who was responding to unconfirmed reports about the matter.

Unique study of great whites

A UNIQUE study into the abundance, distribution and movement of great white sharks in Algoa Bay, sponsored by the metro, has been launched. There has never been a fatal shark attack in Algoa Bay, but the metro has committed the R800000 grant as a pro-active step, taken in line with their marketing of Port Elizabeth as “the watersports’ capital of Africa”, researcher Dr Matt Dicken explained yesterday (June 21 2011).

Refurbished Skead book published

A NEW book aimed at celebrating our natural heritage and guiding sound future conservation policy has been published in Port Elizabeth. Historical Incidence of the Larger Land Mammals in the Broader Western and Northern Cape (including the Eastern Cape as far east as Sundays River) is a complete re-furbishment – with summaries, maps, illustrations and two new chapters – of the original work of the same name by legendary naturalist Dr Jack Skead, who died in 2006.

Co-op sponsors two farmers on US mission

TWO Karoo farmers have flown out of PE on a ground-breaking mission to the US, to get the low-down on fracking, in the country where it all began.

Link Refit to electric cars proposal

IF WE CAN link Refit with electrical motorcars – then we could really be onto something. Speaking to The Herald yesterday (June 14 2011), department of environmental affairs deputy-director general for climate change, Peter Lukey, said the scheduled launch this month of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (Refit), will likely lead to significant positive change.

Exciting reforestation project underway in Transkei

AN UNUSUAL re-forestation and carbon sequestration project is underway in the heart of the old Transkei, where savage erosion is a common feature. The R7600000 project is being run as a partnership between the Congress of Traditional Leaders’ of South Africa (Contralesa), the national department of environmental affairs and a Johannesburg-based company called Carbon Worx.

EC investment boost to counter climate change

EASTERN Cape economic environment MEC Mcebisi Jonas yesterday announced significant new green economy investment to boost green economy skills in the province.

Branch recalls fascinating career

FOR world-renowned reptile and amphibian expert Dr Bill Branch, who retired this week from Bayworld after 32 years employment there – it all began in 1969, on the shores of a lake in East Africa.

Green electricity programme set to launch this month

GOVERNMENT will this month launch the long-awaited Refit programme that will make funding available to pay private energy entrepreneurs who will generate their own green electricity and sell it to the grid.

EC leads climate change battle

THE Eastern Cape government has declared its intention to lead from the front in the war against climate change, with a landmark multi-benefit project agreement signed at the Eastern Cape Climate Change Conference in East London yesterday (June 08 2011).

Climate change conference

EVERYONE change – a milestone Eastern Cape climate change conference, featuring senior political leaders and climate change experts, is set to start in East London today (Wednesday May 8). The Eastern Cape Climate Change Conference will focus on the strategy document that has been prepared by local role-players, and will look towards the UN’s Cop17 summit, the international climate change indaba in Durban in December

‘Plenty of power for smelter,’ says CDC

BLACK-out fears notwithstanding, there is more than enough electricity for the megawatt-hungry Coega manganese smelter, according to the Coega Development Corporation (CDC). CDC communications’ chief Senzeni Ndebele was responding this week to concerns expressed about the power demands of the smelter and how this will affect Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality residents and existing businesses.

Motherwell eco-schools big recipients

TWO Motherwell “eco-schools” were the recipients this week of tens of thousands of rands worth of equipment and furniture to help them learn better. The 26 maths and reading software packages, 100 desks and 200 chairs were donated by ABB after the power and automation giant participated last year in a Wessa eco-schools’ workshop in PE.

Pollution plume off the beachfront raises concerns

A STRANGE-looking plume of discoloured water has been appearing sporadically in the bay between Shark Rock Pier and Humewood Beach, resulting in a number of calls from concerned residents, Following an initial report on May 20 by Humewood resident Elize Pretorius, and then disappearing for several days, it reappeared again this week, prompting further calls.

Put the environment on agenda of new councils

Concerns over Ngqura oil leak ‘unfounded’

CONCERNS have been raised that the oil and gas exploration rig in Port of Ngqura could be leaking oil into the bay. Both the Norwegian company that owns the ultra-deepwater drilling rig and the harbour authorities have rejected as unfounded the concerns raised by environmental group Ocean Messengers.

Ball of fire not the beginning of the end.

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it a comet hurtling to Earth in delayed fulfillment of Harold Campling’s doomsday prophesy? Well, no. In fact, it was the International Space Station (ISS) and space shuttle Endeavour, catching the last rays of the setting sun.

Ngqura a fish magnet

THE Port of Ngqura has become an extraordinary magnet for marine life, and could point the way to an important new role for harbours, according to Bayworld marine biologist and shark specialist Dr Matt Dicken.

Stately emperor pays family a flying visit

THERE are moths and there are moths – and then there is the pine tree emperor, one of the giants of the insect world. Gorgeous yellow in colour and “easily the size of a man’s hand”, one of these moths swooped into a Seaview home the other night.

Endangered forest clearing probed

A SWATHE of critically endangered forest and new generation legislation formulated to combat climate change are at the centre of a confrontation in Deer Park. The forestry department has slammed as “reckless and malicious” the clearing of the area, which is over 100m long by on average 4m wide.

Male in search of good life turns up at beachfront

HE WAS a prickly customer – but in the end he came quietly. It was Patrick Mange, the cleaner and gardener at beachfront flatblock Bandle, next to the Beach Hotel, who found him.

EC operators performs strongly at Indaba

THE Eastern Cape has fared well at the Indaba tourism conference and expo in Durban, taking gold in two different categories in the main Welcome awards and only just falling short in the Eteya emerging tourism operators’ awards. The Welcome Awards winners are both from PE and are both family-owned businesses: the Plantation, the wedding, functions’ and accommodation venue on the Sardinia Bay road, and Economic Cars and Bakkies, the 20-year-old Walmer-based car rental firm.

NMMU microscope a global break-through

NMMU has been catapulted into the forefront of nanoscience research with the arrival of a state-of-the-art custom-built microscope from Japan. The high resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) is the first of its kind that has been sold commercially outside of Japan and the last of a suite of four electron microscopes, costing a total R90-million, that have arrived in the past week from Tokyo manufacturer JEOL and a second manufacturer in The Netherlands.

‘Port guards like the Stasi’

FOREIGN tourists yesterday compared guards at the Port Elizabeth Harbour to the dreaded Stazi security police of East Germany, following an incident in which their driver was manhandled, forcibly detained and then bundled off to Humewood Police Station. The incident happened yesterday morning as the tourists, a group of five Russians and a Belgian, were about to enter the harbour at its southern entrance, headed for a day diving excursion in Algoa Bay with local dive company Expert-Tours.

Dad’s call following son’s death

SIMON Swart started drugging in his early teens and he had been through 15 rehabilitation centres before he died, alone in his room in a backpacker lodge in Central, a fortnight ago. But there was much more to this young man.

How to rejuvenate Baakens River Valley

I WAS chatting to permaculture activist and leading member of Transition Network PE Naomi Suzane the other day, and she came with a great idea of how to secure, rejuvenate and celebrate the Baakens Valley. We kicked her idea around, and this is how it turned out.

Nuclear moratorium call

THE concern group challenging the Thyspunt nuclear reactor has called on government to place a moratorium on all nuclear development in South Africa until the full extent of the Fukushima disaster is known. The call by the Thyspunt Alliance – a broad coalition of residential, cultural, environmental, tourism, fisheries, business and surfing interests in the Oyster Bay, St Francis, Humansdorp and Jeffrey’s Bay area – co-incides with the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl, the historic nuclear melt-down in Ukraine.

Major show jumping event scheduled for PE

PORT Elizabeth has been named as a host city for a world show-jumping championship qualifier event, sparking great excitement in the show-jumping fraternity, and the promise of an energising mid-Winter injection of tourist revenue. The event will be attracting the country’s top jumpers, so it is being celebrated in horsey circles – but it is much more than that, event co-ordinator Tanya Radke said yesterday.

Oceanarium seals readied for departure

HOW do you transport eight seals to Pretoria? That’s the preoccupation right now of Bayworld’s oceanarium team, as the relocation of their animals moves ahead.

Chumming fines co-incide with issuing of whale permit

NELSON Mandela Bay Municipality has issued four fines to marine tourism operator Lloyd Edwards related to the controversial chumming incident off Humewood Beach last month. The issuing of the fines at the Port Elizabeth beach office on Friday co-incides with the issuing this week of the long-awaited boat-based whale watching (BBWW) license for Algoa Bay – to Edwards.

Farewell (for now) to Bayworld oceanarium

BAYWORLD’S oceanarium is set to close at the end of this month to prepare for the de-commissioning of the 43-year-old dolphin pool and the transfer of 24 penguins and nine seals to Pretoria Zoo. It’s all part of “operation stop the bleed” in which Port Elizabeth’s much loved museum and oceanarium complex has had to make some tough decisions in order to deliver, hopefully, long-term bounty.

Get out the Karoo, farmers tell Shell

ANGRY residents of the Middleburg area have called for Shell to “get out the Karoo” after the company failed to guarantee the security of their water if fracking goes ahead. Addressing Shell representatives at a hall in Middelburg’s Grootfontein Agricultural College in a hall packed with farmers in T-shirts saying “Don’t Frack with our Karoo,” members of the audience asked repeatedly if the multi-national could “guarantee no risk to our water”.

Nieu Bethesda farmers count flood costs

IT COULD take some farmers in Nieu Bethesda a decade to get back to where they were before the flood that hit them Saturday. That’s the word from the mountainous catchment area north of Graaff-Reinet, where well over 100mm of rain fell in 24 hours, flooding the Gats River and all its tributaries, flattening stock fences, stripping roads to bedrock and bursting farm dams.

Your Views

royboy 19 March 2012 3:19 pm

Well it may be that the USA is able to assist and give solutions to the poaching problem….but the ANC will probably go down in history as allowing the rhino to go extinct on their watch……

royboy 19 March 2012 3:14 pm

So the government gives a farm worth 16 million to a group that is clueless on production processes and has no idea on how to run and manage the farm and then wonders why the new owners are no better …

Opstoker 17 March 2012 6:55 am

Ag Gerald, get down off your high horse and put a cork in it. The bottom line is: you took an undeclared bonus from a third party, thus betraying your fiduciary duty to your own employer (and betrayin…

TheRef 17 March 2012 4:21 am

Fuel Prices! US President Obama wants British PM Cameron to join the US and release Oil reserves to drive down prices. What is the state of South Africa`s reserves i wonder! we could do with a Governm…

royboy 16 March 2012 11:28 am

CSA,grow some balls and do the right thing …finally…and for majola,the same applies,do the right thing and move on,you have been found guilty and no one wants your involvement in cricket any more,…

royboy 16 March 2012 11:22 am

Does any one out there know if there is a White Business Council?…or would this be seen as racist…

thirsty 16 March 2012 8:10 am

We are not allowed to take the law into our own hands, I AGREE WE DO NOT GET SERVICE DELIVERY, i.e. from the police, and here is a political leader of the ANC saying they will cut off penises, which …

royboy 15 March 2012 10:59 am

people,try the DA for a change,it wont change the government but really will change your own circumstances for the better,you have nothing to lose and everything to gain,give it a go …

royboy 15 March 2012 10:53 am

get a life,there are more important issues out there to worry about……

royboy 15 March 2012 10:50 am

about time we stood up in the face of police apathy,looking forward to reading about the first neutered rapist out there ,will be willing to supply the blade if needed …