Construction threatens Cape fynbos

2012-03-09 14:43

Cape Town - Construction of the Chapman's Peak toll plaza on national parks land would endanger threatened fynbos, the Cape High Court heard on Friday.

Advocate Jeremy Muller, for the Hout Bay Residents' Association, said 500m2 of granite fynbos could be irretrievably lost.

He said the impact on vegetation had not been assessed in an environmental process.

"If we are right, that what the province is contemplating is unlawful... a risk-averse approach is the appropriate one here," he told Judge Rosheni Allie.

If Allie was not to grant an interim order halting construction, the province and toll concessionaire Entilini would continue with unlawful conduct, he said.

He requested a month's delay, as this was when the court would hear the matter of whether construction was lawful.

"No one is suggesting a lengthy stoppage. All we are asking for is four weeks. This is work on a critical path and so it wouldn't interrupt work on the toll plaza."

The area in question was a farm owned by the Labia family and sold to SA National Parks years ago.

According to Muller, the land was not included in the toll construction agreement, and would need to be de-proclaimed by Parliament before it could be built on.

Contravention of the Protected Areas Act could lead to a maximum five year prison sentence.

Muller said the application was on behalf of the people of South Africa as "the environment is held in a public trust".

  • Harald - 2012-03-09 15:11


      Peter - 2012-03-09 18:17

      Fynbos is a weed, why does everyone get so hung up on it?

  • MagdaKus - 2012-03-09 15:56

    Are you sure? I mean the current white toll boxes, and offices in ugly green containers, as opposed to relatively decent looking small building(according to what pops up on Google's "Chapman's Peak toll plaza" image search)? 500 square metres are less than the area od some people's homes (not mine).

      Morné - 2012-03-09 17:21

      500m square of fynbos is the equivalent of 100 times (or more) of any other vegetation type in world, even if it does not contain one of the dozens of endangered fynbos species. It's the worlds richest floristic biome. Several endangered fynbos species survive on little more than the surface area mentioned. If this aspect was left out of the impact assessment, the document is indeed fatally flawed and the company responsible for that document deserves to be sued.

      MagdaKus - 2012-03-09 20:49

      @Morne - the point is the area needs to be rehabilitated at that position anyway, and judging by the "artist's impressions" of the building it has a "green" roof- which will I am pretty sure be fynbos. Fynbos gets burnt in fires & regrows every so many years- so it is not as if they are damaging anything that has taken centuries to grow. I cannot say for sure if this was done here- but it is a practice to do a "search and rescue" before undertaking building work to see if any plants can be saved for the completed scheme (it was done on a project I was involved with in Knysna; residential). Hopefully this was done and any rare plants were saved.

  • Poloyatonki - 2012-03-09 15:57

    Where did Labia family buy this farm from?

      Rodney - 2012-03-09 16:50

      why would that make any difference? whether the land is owned by a black or a white person is not the issue, the issue is the protection of the fynbos. get with the programme.

  • Rodney - 2012-03-09 16:50

    unfortunate surname. lol

  • chris.hitchcock1 - 2012-03-09 17:09

    If building Chapmans Peak drive itself didn't kill the fynbos, then a piddly little building at one end of it wont make a blind bit of difference. Really, at least try to be consistent. If you don't want the toll building, that's fine, but then also campaign to demolish the road and restore the mountain to its natural state pre 1915.

  • Trevor - 2012-03-09 18:27

    hummmph.... and all the goverment "steam roll"..lets all get a red ribbon argus cycle tour day and STOP them

      nealsnyman - 2012-03-09 19:11

      Thing is, Trevor, this time it is the DA who have chosen to do the steamrolling.

  • lydonmcg - 2012-03-09 18:43

    Absolute nonsense. It's being built in a DISUSED STONE QUARRY that is a scar on the face of the mountain. The new building will incorporate green roofs, terraces etc. that will consist of fynbos. What a retarded argument against it!

      chris.hitchcock1 - 2012-03-09 20:27

      There you go bringing facts into a perfectly good argument. You'll never make a politician.

      MagdaKus - 2012-03-09 20:43

      Both of these comments are pretty close to what I am thinking ;-)

  • Bruce - 2012-03-09 22:30

    Reply to Peter. Strange that the Chelsea Flower show has repeatedly awarded a Gold Medal to weeds!

  • Dronkie - 2012-03-10 18:40

    These greenies are retarded. I've been there - the construction site was a quarry site and not a single fynbos is growing there.

  • Den - 2012-03-12 15:02

    its just weeds chop it all down

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-12 15:21

    Massive profits trump fynbos every time. The DA for all its protestations to the contrary isn't much better than the party it wants to replace, It doesn't really matter who you vote for anymore both of them will take you to the cleaners.

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