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Friday Apr 11, 2014

Glencairn property development land becomes part of nature reserve

A portion of the 30 hectare Glencairn 'nature area' at the centre of controversial bids to build luxury housing several years ago will now be conserved and protected as part of the Table Mountain National Park.

Glencairn's Erf 60, adjoining the suburb Glencairn Heights.

The land was bequeathed to the Gordon's Missionary Society by William Haines in the 1940s to be used as an area for camping for underprivileged children.

Trustees of Erf 60, known as 'Gordon's land', apparently needed to develop 9ha to raise money.

At the time, the development was strongly opposed by CapeNature, Table Mountain National Park and many residents.

The proposal to build 65 luxury homes in Glencairn Valley was turned down by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in December 2009 and again in November 2010.

Gordon's Missionary Society and South African National Parks (SANParks) are expected to formally hand over the conservation portion of the land on Tuesday.

The land will be contracted indefinitely to the national park.

It will also be included as part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site.

Yesterday, Glencairn Action Group secretary Louise de Waal welcomed the decision as a victory for conservation.

'It's a good thing knowing that a large part of Erf 60 won't be going to development. This way, it will be managed appropriately, with many processes already starting to remove invasive plants and other fire hazards,' she said.

The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa's Patrick Dowling said the incorporation of Erf 60 into the heritage site had positive social and economical benefits.

'The struggle came in a number of phases, primarily organised by civic society and local activists and conservation groups.

We haven't been as close to the action, but are in full support of the process.

'Any move towards removing threats of big residential development into pristine areas is a positive. If the area is made available to campers, it could add to (our) tourism,' he said. Dowling said the protection of fynbos on the land was important for future conservation.

Cape Times


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