While development of the much anticipated Sibaya Coastal Precinct steams ahead, Tongaat Hulett is implementing plans to ensure the area’s intrinsic natural heritage is protected and preserved for posterity. Under the custodianship of the Sibaya Coastal Precinct Conservation Trust, the Precinct’s significant environmental resources will be rehabilitated, maintained, protected and preserved as part of the holistic development.
Situated on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, Sibaya Coastal Precinct encompasses 1 000 hectares of beach, forest, river and hilltop landscape. Up to 60 percent of the area will remain coastal dune forest, while open spaces and areas currently under sugar cane will be rehabilitated.
Much of the Hawaan forest and a series of smaller, inter-connected dune forests form a 308-hectare band that falls within the Precinct’s borders. “This forest is a vital regional asset and will be maintained, protected and preserved along with the beaches, marine conservancies, wetlands and other rehabilitated open spaces by the Trust which has officially been registered,” says Tongaat Hulett Developments Executive, Dayalan Chetty.
Under the expert penmanship of Dr. Richard Kinvig, a Conservation Management Plan has been compiled and will be implemented in line with the development’s activities. Dr Kinvig is a well-respected Ecologist who specialises in Botany, Ecology, Environmental Science, Zoology and Entomology. Having been involved in over 200 projects within the environmental field, Kinvig offers expert insight and considerable experience in terms of environmental management and is an important and valued member of the Board of Trustees. The trustees include six representatives in total, four of whom are from Tongaat Hulett and two members of the Sibaya Precinct Master Management Association.
The trust will be a self-sustaining entity funded by existing and new investors or developers within the Sibaya Coastal Precinct. A levy has been implemented as well as a stabilisation fund to ensure the Conservation Trust’s longevity and sustainability in fulfilling its mandate of rehabilitating, protecting, maintaining and preserving the development’s natural assets in an ecologically sustainable manner. It will also be critical to ensure the Trust’s objectives remain in line with the terms of the Conservation Management Plan and it fulfills all obligations imposed upon it in the environmental authorisation. Chetty says, “The Trust will serve a critical role in ensuring that ongoing commercial activity on the site takes place in an environmentally sensitive, responsible and sustainable manner.” As stipulated in the Record of Decision, the forest that has been protected and therefore inaccessible to the public until now, will be activated through carefully considered mechanisms. In doing so, for the very first time residents of the Precinct and greater Durban as well as tourists will be able to visit and enjoy a unique environmental experience.
“The Sibaya Coastal Precinct Conservation Trust will ensure that there are no compromises on our promise to provide an engaging yet responsible and sustainable solution in making the forest accessible. On completion, the Precinct will be a beacon for urban and environmental integration that encourages mutual respect so that the different elements can exist in harmony with each other,” concludes Chetty.