Knysna River Reserve Development
An article by Michael Appel (BuaNews, 19 February 2008) details the decision made by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Martinus van Schalkwyk, to give developers the go ahead for the Knysna River Reserve (KRR) development. The decision comes after consideration of three appeals lodged against the proposed development’s establishment.
Pamela Yako, Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, says that the KRR development will be a sport-based resort linked to the South African “Hall of Fame”. Accommodation will include 60 stadium resort units, 275 clustered resort units and a resort hotel with 60 suites.
There is also a nature resort and golf course on the cards. This will consist of 91 units: with 15 hillside, 34 forest-fringe and 42 terrace units for use by tourists and holidaymakers. A nature reserve with the highest conservation status is also in the pipeline and no property developments are expected to happen in this area.
The West River Development Company was advised to proceed with the KRR development in March 2006, but the three appeals lodged put a spanner in the works. There were a number of grievances, including an “anticipated restriction of the use of public areas like the Old Drift picnic spot and the Phantom Pass road” running through the property (Appel). In addition, there was concern over the effect of the development on the Knysna River Valley character, as well as the project’s financial viability. Other worrying factors included water supply and consumption, as well as sewage management and the possible effect this might have on the surrounding eco-system.
In response to these concerns, the Minister said that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) had given assurance on the availability of water in the Knysna area and that a “comprehensive agreement” had been entered into by the developer and the Knysna Municipality to ensure the provision of water, as well as the development and management of the water infrastructure to alleviate concerns about water supply and consumption. A sewage treatment plant with a capacity of 462m sqd is planned, as is a permanent reservoir for bulk water supply.
In order to accommodate the proposed development, the Minister said that amendments were made to the Knysna-Wilderness-Plettenberg Bay Regional Structure Plan and that the Western Cape Provincial Government approved these amendments on 5 February 2008.
When interviewed by Appel, the West River Development Company Director, Greg Metzer was unable to set a date for the commencement of the project, but he did say that once all the conditions have been met to go on site, it should start within a number of weeks.
The information in this article is courtesy of Michael Appel (“Knysna River Reserve Receives Go Ahead” in BuaNews, 19 February 2008).