Today (Tuesday 30 August) was a day of mixed feelings as the pines in the Tokai Forest were being felled.
The trees will be replaced by fynbos. That idea had a lot of people fuming with anger because they were never informed about the felling of the pines whilst others thought it was long overdue. The timber forest is said to be owned by Mountain to Ocean.
Eric Harley, a resident, says he is happy that the pines are being felled. “I’m happy that they are bringing fynbos back. At least with the trees gone we will be able to see properly. There have also been two muggings here,” he says.
Following the devastating fires last year, something had to be done about the trees and the risk that such a fire can cause to the adjacent residential area. A letter was sent to residents yesterday and part of the letter states that “A fynbos fire can be managed and is generally not a threat to buildings on the edge of the forest as it does not burn as intensely as a pine fire....”
Andrea Pearson, a Bergvliet resident, says she came to the forest every day, but today is a bad day for her. “I come here with my dogs every day. During the school holiday I also take the kids to come play here. This is a great place and cutting down the pines is a mistake. The fynbos is dangerous. We don’t want the fynbos. I don’t think I will come here ever again because I’m afraid for my safety. Someone can hide in the fynbos and you won’t see them,” she says.
Another angry resident is Billy Cox who says the forest was a beautiful place. “This place was used by everyone. It wasn’t just people from Tokai, people from all over came here. Honestly, f*** the fynbos, who needs that. It was such a beautiful place with the pines and its really nice walking here. The worst part is that we were never told about this,” he says.
Clive King says he received the shocking message when he took his dog for a walk this morning. “I come here every day and to my surprise I was told that I was trespassing. I’m very upset .No one mentioned anything to anyone. SanParks pretends to be involved with the community, yet they go behind everyone’s back. We will stop this; there will be a serious problem with crime if this is not stopped. We don’t want fynbos. They attract crime, no one can hide in these trees.”
Historian Berta van Rooyen says she was very excited that the pines are being cut down. “This is the beginning of a process to complete the cycle. Fynbos is a historic marker. This area will preserve the history and it is extremely important,” she said.
Gavin Bell, SanParks area manager, says this has been a long time coming. “This had been discussed for some time. This is an important day in history and it shows the importance of natural heritage. We had letters sent to residents in the close proximity of the forest and we have all in place for animals here. We believe it will be a good space again as soon as the trees are gone.”’
The forest will be closed for four to six weeks whilst the tree felling is done.