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Friday Feb 19, 2010

Garden Cities allocates land to Cape Town conservation area

Ninety year-old Cape residential development company, Garden Cities, has allocated 462 ha of historic, environmentally important land, which forms part of its growing West Coast suburb, Sunningdale, to the City of Cape Town, in order to expand the Blaauwberg Conservation Area (BCA).

An agreement ratifying the endowment of the land was signed on Tuesday 16 February 2010 between the CEO of Garden Cities, John Matthews, and the City of Cape Town's Director of Environmental Resource Management, Osman Asmal.

"I thank the Board of Garden Cities for its willingness to engage with the City and contribute to the conservation and protection of its natural and historical heritage," Asmal said.

"The transfer of this important stretch of land to the people of Cape Town is in line with Garden Cities' dedication to sustainable development and it underpins this commitment," said Matthews.

The land, which will be known as the Sunningdale Management Block of the BCA, comprises the site of the Battle of Blaauwberg, which was fought in 1806, and marked the end of Dutch rule at the Cape and the start of the second period of British rule.

Enhancing its biological importance is the presence of valuable Cape Flats Sand Fynbos - a critically endangered vegetation type that only occurs in Cape Town - of which less than 1% has been conserved. The national conservation target of 30% is unattainable as only about 14% of the original land on which it occurred, remains. For this reason the Sunningdale Management Block is of extreme conservation significance. A wetland, the Blaauwbergsvlei, also occurs on the site.

The land will be formally proclaimed part of the BCA, which bestows statutory protection into the future. The addition of this land brings the publicly-owned land in the BCA to a total area of 1 415 ha, making it one of the biggest reserves managed by the City of Cape Town.

An active land consolidation programme is being implemented for the BCA, and it is planned that it will ultimately be approximately 2 000 ha in extent.

Councillor Marian Nieuwoudt, the Mayoral Committee Member for Planning and Environment, said: "This is a significant agreement between Garden Cities and the City of Cape Town and is a tribute to the City's Biodiversity Strategy and Network. It also secures a critical part of the City's cultural heritage".

For more information on the Blaauwberg Conservation Area visit www.capetown.gov.za/environment, click on Nature Reserves, or ww.bca.org.za

 
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