Community interaction launched

Knysna's new development framework

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Knysna is the first municipality in South Africa to initiate the new generation ISDF, a framework far more extensive than the former Spatial Development Framework (SDF) which in the past mainly focussed on development borders and zoning.

Integrated Strategic Development Frameworks are intended to incorporate all aspects of town and infrastructure planning including economic development, environmental integrity, provision of housing and facilities, bulk infrastructure, as well as a range of social issues associated with development.

The Knysna Municipality appointed Knysna Creative Heads Consortium (KCHC) earlier this year to develop the town’s new ISDF. The Community Interaction Process is one of the first phases of this project and is scheduled for until at least November next year. Mostly funded by the National Treasurer, the Framework process is expected to take about three years and will be investigating options for the greater Knysna area for at least the next 20 to 30 years.

KCHC project leader, Chris Mulder, said this type of framework was new to everyone and required the people of Knysna to think outside the box. “We need big ideas from everyone – no matter how big or how small, no matter whether it is economic, environmental or developmental. Everything will be considered.

“The end result must be a holistic planning and development framework with detailed, implementation-orientated interventions that may be big or small and that will be prioritised according to researched and sound criteria and data," says Mulder.

An ISDF centre, called a Connection Café, has been set up at the Knysna Town Library in Woodmill Walk Centre (the old Edgars) in Long Street. Interested parties can register there and post written-up ideas into specially provided boxes. An online Café has been made available will be available since last month. Several workshops, exhibitions and data collection exercises are planned for the Community Interaction Phase – information of which will be available at the Knysna Library, in the media or via the ISDF website.

Mulder also invited all communities, organisations and associations wanting to engage face-to- face, to set up a time for a ‘Road Café’ in which the ISDF team will travel to any place within the Knysna Municipal Area to inform, collect information and share ideas. Interested parties can call 044 382 6732 or send an email to info@knysnacreativeheads.co.za.

Speaking at the launch of the Community Interaction phase of the ISDF at the Knysna Library, Knysna Executive Mayor, Georlene Wolmarans, emphasised that the Framework was about putting heads together to ensure the very best future for Knysna and everyone who lived here.

“Among us live some of the best brains and experience the world has to offer, and the process we are launching here tonight is aimed at harnessing all that knowledge and expertise for the greater good of our municipal area. I encourage you to spread the news about this process and ask that you participate constructively with all our town’s people in mind.”

She added that the municipality was well aware of the commotion surrounding the appointment of KCHC as service providers, but emphasised the municipality’s confidence that the KCHC team’s skills and experience, combined with their unconditional passion as locals of this town and region, were exactly what Knysna required to plan its future.

“We are very proud to be the first municipality in South Africa to tackle a new generation ISDF process, and we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that it is representative and sustainable. We remind all interested parties and stakeholders that the ISDF process is public and that locals wanting to contribute must participate – all the way through. This Framework is about way more than just determining boundaries and zones. It is about looking at the bigger picture and finding workable solutions for a wide range of factors. These include economic development, environmental integrity, provision of housing and facilities, bulk infrastructure, and a whole range of social issues associated with a town where the very rich and the very poor live side by side every day. We know that our issues are complicated and diverse. We know that it is going to take time, and we know that not everyone is going to agree. And that’s OK. We need to start somewhere … so here we are,” she concluded.

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