Comment on the Draft Tokai Cecilia Implementation Plan

Many have requested support in commenting on the Draft Tokai Cecilia Management Plan – the outcome of the public participation process on the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework. The PDF file below provides you with a template from which to work. You are encouraged to choose the elements that ring true for you and to use your own words in crafting your response.

All comments are to be sent to tcmf@sanparks.org by 31 May
Please cc your comments to secretary@parkscape.org.za


Overview:

Although the Draft Plan itself is a relatively easy document to work with, the devil is in the detail of the Annexure where we find that the majority of proposals for shade spaces within the Tokai and Cecilia areas of Table Mountain National Park have been rejected as being “not feasible and/or suitable for implementation“.

The rejected proposals include :
* retaining stands of pines as shade canopy between which tall-canopied local species and non-invasive exotics can be grown on a phased transition basis in Tokai,
* retaining existing plantation and allow thinning to allow Afrotemperate forest to expand naturally into these ‘nursery’ areas” in Cecilia,
* formal planting between Tokai Arboretum and old gum stand and along boundary of wine farms,
* replanting the old gum grove area (Fairie Glen) with mixed species (non invasive introduced and Afrotemperate)
* extending the Arboretum to create permanent shade,
* replant hardwood grove at the Thatch/Orpen Road Cottage.

As regards retaining shade spaces all the Draft TCIP allows for is the retention of the Arboretum and “broken shade” on the perimeter path of Lower Tokai. For all other shade, it is suggested that users make use of greenbelts – however, the Constantia greenbelts are seeing an increased removal of many old trees (deemed to be “aliens”) and an increased focus on fynbos gardens.

It is worth noting that the Draft Plan is skewed towards fynbos biodiversity conservation and provides for not only little to no shade space, it also indicates the reduction/closure of trails for all users in all parts of Tokai and Cecilia.

28 proposals in the Annexure ended with the phrase “after plantation felling” making felling of the plantations a given and of these, 21 were deemed well-suited for implementation. None were deemed not feasible or impractical for implementation.

PARKSCAPE SEEKS LEGAL RELIEF

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday 30 August 2016 logging teams moved into Tokai Forest with military precision and in a manner that was arguably an act of bad faith. Residents living adjacent to the plantation were only informed the night before, while no one else in the community was aware that felling would begin, or that it would be conducted on a 24/7 basis. This hasty felling indicates a deviation from the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework negotiated in 2006 by affected stakeholders, SANParks and the City. It is somewhat ironic that Gavin Bell, Area Manager TMNP South, stated at a Parkscape community meeting in July 2016 that TMNP would indeed adhere to the Framework. Adherence will not be possible if the logging continues and if the botanical vision for an area of all-fynbos proceeds.

Following concerted attempts to engage with SANParks, MTO and their legal team, Parkscape chose to confront the logging operation and deviation from the Management Framework head-on. Together with our legal team, Parkscape has, through concerted efforts, forced SANParks and MTO to cease felling from the Dennendal Avenue West area (i.e. all forested areas on the east side of Orpen Road/Spaanschemacht Road) – but only for one week.

While felling will stop in the Dennendal section for one week as of 31 August 2016, it will, however, continue in the sections opposite (i.e. on the west side of Orpen Road/Spaanschemacht Road). This means that Tokai will be losing pines, which we accept are a commercial crop, at a rate of over 100 per hour, day and night.

Should we win the interdict, the need will be to ensure that a proper and procedurally fair public participation process is embarked on – and completed – before the pines are felled, so that we still can enjoy and use our communal space as agreed to in the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework.

We expect to be in court on Friday, 9 September 2016, represented by Junior and Senior Counsel, and our attorney. Should we win, the process will continue further and Parkscape will need to find additional funds to pay our legal team. We need to be able to show that we have funds to pay the future costs associated with the legal case. Without this, what remains of the Lower Tokai plantation, in a deviation from the Management Framework, will come down in the second week of September.

Please urgently donate any funds to our Attorneys’ Trust account:
Account Holder: Slabbert, Venter, Yanoutsos Attorneys
Standard Bank, Fish Hoek
Bank Code: 036009
Acc Nr.: 072 128 542
Reference: Tokai Forest
Email proof of payment to: anton@svy.co.za

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