Howick residents sign petition to keep trees

2008-01-21 00:00

MORE than 800 concerned Howick residents have signed a petition following the protest against the chopping down of mature heritage trees and the lack of public participation in the uMngeni Municipality’s rejuvenation plans for the town.

While the vigil around the old oak tree near St Luke’s in Main Street continues, residents reiterated that the century-old oak is just a symbol of the problem.

Residents say the municipality has breached its promise to include community members in all projects, as set out in their mission statement.

Democratic Alliance ward five councillor Tim Lindsay-White told The Witness that he met with Howick Mayor Edward Dladla on Wednesday, following two unsuccessful attempts to meet municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi. He said no resolution was reached, but Dladla indicated he was aware of the petition.

Green Howick said trees of major importance have been declared “champion trees” by the department of Water Affairs.

Amafa, the KZN heritage body, said they are investigating the matter.

Sandile Ndawonde, the CEO of Green Network, a local environmental organisation, said he supports the protesters in their fight to participate in the municipality’s decision-making regarding rejuvenation plans.

“People on the ground, including ward committees, must be included in municipal plans so they can provide information to the community members who can assist in making informed decisions pertaining to the town,” Ndawonde said.

nerissag@witness.co.za

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