The Flagship Spatial Development Plan
The Development Plan, aimed at creating and developing growth and development scenarios as well as a conservation plan for the CWCBR for a twenty year window was successfully completed and has been heralded as an example document for use by developers, conservationists and finance institutions. The final phase of incorporating the document into the municipal Integrated Development Plans, to ensure sound sustainability principles as recommended by the Biosphere Reserve to directly influence the direction and decision making of such municipalities, will take place over the remaining two months of the year.
The Framework Plan initiated by the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve Company is demonstrating the following spectrum of benefits, both during its compilation and subsequent to its recent approval by CWCBR Board:
- Heightened appreciation by planning officials of biodiversity conservation as a planning and land use management informant at landscape level in rural areas, as opposed to only at farm or development site level.
- Increased awareness of the need for cross-border municipal land use and biodiversity considerations resulting in collaboration between local authorities within CWCBR domain in their framework planning and land use management (e.g. SDF's EMF's).
- Contributing to improving the credibility of municipal SDF's by recognising the importance of biodiversity at landscape level.
- Informing spatial structuring within municipal areas (e.g. Saldanha Bay IDZ and coastal corridor), stewardship programmes (e.g. West Coast National Park – Berg River corridor) and scale and type of development (e.g. Bok-Punt-Yzerfontein coastal area).
- Demand for and utilization of resource data collated during the compilation of the Framework Plan by both the public and private sector.
- Increased awareness of the role of biodiversity in fostering a green economy, especially in the CWCBR domain characterised by marginal agriculture, depleted marine resources and increasing landscape transformation due to climate change.
- Implementing and reinforcing the principles and spatial planning requirements of the Western Cape Provincial Spatial Development Framework.
The Flagship Trails and Tourism Programme:
This project began in 2008 when Silimela Consortium was awarded the contract and appointed to undertake the feasibility study of the Trails and Tourism Programme. This included a number of different tourism products relating to improved economic opportunities for at least 8 different communities. This project had a wide stakeholder involvement and was considered extremely successful. In order to source funding for the implementation of the Business Plan, from different sectors, it was necessary to gain some form of route security. In 2009 various activities were achieved to ensure continuity of the project towards completion. This included signing of MOU's with landowners to secure access rights, some marketing in magazines, and engaging Fiona McIntosh, Editor of the Out There Magazine and author of Slackpacking: A guide to South Africa's top leisure trails; her photographer Shaen Adey; and Frank Dwyer: owner of Slackpacking South Africa to feature the trails in Fiona's 2nd Edition, which is to be launched in November 2010.
In 2010, activities included research and generating of in depth scripts for each of the trails that the guide will use to bring the particular experience to life and set a context for the experience. Part of the business plan defined a reservations centre for the trails and tourism, which has resulted in the new R27 Tourism Hub located at the Yzerfontein farmstall. This "sub project" has facilitated a much closer working relationship with the tourism offices in the region, forging strong partnerships, as well as has provided a tourism officer position for the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve. Finally, approval has just been given from the Lotto Board to fund the implementation of this entire project to the value of R3, 400 000.00.
The Director Tourism furthermore now sits on the Regional Tourism Board, providing a supporting role to the broader region with respect to the CWCBR and tourism partnership.