Council’s plans get the nod

2016-05-17 06:00

Some heritage management powers are expected to shift from Heritage Western Cape to the City of Cape Town.

At a recent full council meeting, the City received support to manage its local heritage resources in a sustainable manner.

Heritage Western Cape (HWC) assessed the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) in October 2015 and found it competent to manage heritage resources of a local significance, or classifiable as Grade III heritage resources.

In April, the City received a letter from HWC requesting that Council adopt an agreement for the City to manage all local heritage resources and protected sites under the NHRA, other than for Grade I and Grade II heritage resources of national and provincial significance, national and provincial heritage sites, human burials, and the permission of archaeological excavations.

One of the objectives of the delegation is to cut red tape, says the City’s Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, Johan van der Merwe. “It should provide greater certainty to all stakeholders and role players as there will be one single authority dealing with local heritage applications, as the Constitution envisages.”

In terms of the NHRA the responsibility for managing Grade III heritage resources lies with the local authority, but the management functions are being administered at a provincial level. This creates duplication in processing heritage approvals by both the City and HWC.

“This delegation is based on the need for efficient deployment of scarce resources, the removal of duplication of process, and the need for effective and efficient service delivery. The agreement embodies the imperative of cooperative governance while at the same time putting in place checks and balances to ensure that the City is competent and accountable for the responsible management of local heritage resources in terms of this delegation,” says Van der Merwe.

The City has been carrying out an audit of heritage buildings (Help put heritage sites on the map, People’s Post, 8 December), which included surveying heritage protection overlays. The second phase of the audit of the entire metropolitan area will see heritage professionals appointed by the City identify and provide proposed grading for places in a geographical area. These are then mapped and reviewed by the City staff, and a grading assigned. It must be noted that grading is not a protection in itself, but rather an assessment of the heritage significance of a place, Garreth Bloor, the City’s acting Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning previously told People’s Post.

The Environmental Resource Management Department has drafted a clarification document for local communities explaining the grading process. Included in this document is a nomination sheet for Grade III heritage resources. The submission will be checked for quality and consistency in terms of the criteria listed in the National Heritage Resources Act and the submission entered onto the heritage database.

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