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Plan to create ‘new economic hub’

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The Roodepan market has experienced good growth in the number of dwellings sold, as well as the average price over the past decade

Proposed Oliphants Estate Township Development. Picture: Supplied

CITY residents have been invited to submit comments on the proposed Oliphant Estate Township Development following the release of the scoping and environmental impact assessment report yesterday.

The project is earmarked for Portion 18 of the farm Roodepan (between Kamfers Dam and the Midlands Road). The closing date for objections is May 7 and the report can be viewed at the Kimberley Library.

The Oliphants Housing Estate is proposing the construction of a mixed-use residential development, consisting of 2 886 housing units (175 freehold units and 2 711 sectional title units).

According to the report, the idea of the Oliphant Estate residential development was born from the need of an all-inclusive socio-economic mixed-use development to the north of the Kimberley CBD. “Kimberley is under great pressure for development, the idea of creating a new economic hub to the north of Kimberley is an exciting new possibility.”

The report states further that the current housing backlog is estimated at 4 000 units in the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality.

“However, based on the number of informal dwellers (17%) and the number of households in Sol Plaatje (66 000) the housing backlog is approximately 10 000 units. The Kimberly economy will continue to grow and the main focus of the market should be on creating a stronger regional hub for the whole of the Northern Cape Province.”

It was pointed out that the residential market was expected to grow mainly in the low to middle income segments. “The growth will be dominated by urbanisation which is generally associated with low income market growth. Roodepan (10km – Kimberley CBD) is located further from the majority of the job opportunities than Oliphants Estate (6km – Kimberley CBD).”

The report stated that the Roodepan market has experienced good growth in the number of dwellings sold, as well as the average price over the past decade.

The site, according to the Frances Baard District Municipality’s Spatial Development Framework, was excluded from the urban development boundary and was earmarked as a conservation area.

“An application was, however, brought to include the site in the urban development boundary and to develop the site as a mixed-use development, which was approved by the Sol Plaatje City Council in December 2017.

The area where the development is set to take place overlaps with the Kamfers Dam Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.

It was pointed out that the displacement of birds, in particular waterbirds, during construction and operation is probably the most important negative impact of project.

The adjacent Kamfers Dam holds one of only four breeding populations of the globally near threatened lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor). “In addition, it also supports globally significant populations of waterbirds and at least four other globally and regionally threatened and near threatened bird species. It also holds the largest permanent population of lesser flamingos in South Africa.”

According to the report, it is possible that construction and operational activities, especially noise and human-induced disturbances, could displace birds from Kamfers Dam.

“Therefore, flamingos could vacate the area or construction activities could result in breeding failures. Displacement and relevant impacts on the breeding success of flamingos and other waterbirds at Kamfers Dam may have disastrous consequences on waterbird recruitment and conservation which are of global importance.”

It was, however, pointed out that the impact on the wetland can be limited by applying mitigation measures, as well as the mitigation measure to control the encroachment of invasive species and erosion and sedimentation.

“At this stage, there are no fatal flaws associated with the development, but further investigation is required. Even with the appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures implemented, there are extensive areas present on the site which could accommodate the proposed development with relatively low impacts on the environment.”

Potentially sensitive areas/environmental features/issues that have been identified for further study include the loss of avifaunal habitat and loss of sensitive habitat and the displacement and disturbances caused to waterbirds (in particular lesser flamingos).

A 500m buffer zone is proposed along the edge of Kamfers Dam. “This area should be regarded as sensitive and a “no-go” area for any development or residents/contractors. Access to this area should be controlled and it should preferably be fenced.”

No construction activities may take place in these areas, including the temporary storage of materials, location of the construction camp and location of temporary ablution facilities.