D’Urbanvale Environmental Matters.
D’Urbanvale – Portions 12 & 13 of Uitkamp Farm 189 Durbanville.
D’Urbanvale – born in 1998 consequent to provisions & stipulations that were to regulate the development of the area, according to a practical listing of “if’s & but’s” & “do’s & don’ts”. Now, in 2006, one is confronted by the young suburb of Durbanville which has yet to reach maturity, but within which there are many signs of departure from the ideals that were to have been followed.
Dealing with situational & environmental issues, D’Urbanvale is sited between the Koeberg & Vissershok roads. The locality is divided by a wetland & the Mosselbank River road linking the two main bordering roads. This road was never intended or designed to carry the volume of traffic that it now does. Typical of how matters & circumstances change between concept & the final real, living condition. It should never have bisected the wetland either.
To our great privilege, the D’Urbanvale residential area incorporates a Renosterveld remnant. This was planned. It is almost unique, being one of the very few such remnants which flank a wetland area. Nearly all remnants are located on the crowns of hills where farm development fought shy of ploughing. The Renosterveld used to cover the territory from Swellendam in the east to Saldanha in the west. What is left is about 4% of the original area.
The Renosterveld is unique & is one of the most endangered vegetation types in South Africa & in the world!!! It forms a valuable part of the Cape Floral Region &, as such, is an integral part of the position that the Cape Floral Kingdom occupies as a “world hot spot” in terms of its biodiversity. D’Urbanvale is therefore unique. We must appreciate that point & work towards the realisation of this fact.
The wetland is part of the Mosselbank River system. Now, it is threatened by all the activity & the development that has taken place around it. Water flow has become excessive because of reduced ground surface area that can absorb rain following the residential development & the consequent surface run-off into the wetland. The excess nutrient load that is being carried into the wetland has disturbed the natural balance that the flora rely on. The wetland & the Renosterveld are frequently physically abused because people are either uninformed or simply just don’t give a hoot.
The effect of human settlement, in close proximity to these jewels of nature, & the failure to adhere to the rules & regulations prepared as guidelines (both now & in the past), have had their impact. The result is that the Uitkamp, including the ‘veld’, is in serious need of care & rehabilitation.
It is important to recognize the imperative that, for the area to be rehabilitated as it deserves, we need to combine forces to restore the Uitkamp area to the condition that it deserves. The public need to put their shoulder to the wheel in conjunction with the authorities. The consequences of sewer line leakage, threatened sewerage spillage due to power shut-off, the lack of maintenance of fences (a threat to the security of the area), the alien infestation, lack of fire breaks being cut & general enforced lack of presence by the responsible authorities & conservationists has lead to the existing state of affairs. It isn’t good enough. Local & central government are logically charged with the responsibility to protect our natural assets. We pay them to do this. They are responsible to care for the World Heritage Site that we are part of - as an element - of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
The Nature Conservation authorities are aware of the need to bring about the changes that are required in the area. They will do it – but they will need help - D’Urbanvale residents help. It would be wonderful to form a body of public spirited & nature conservation driven residents who would like to become members of an envisaged “ Uitkamp Action Group”. As such they would be trained & shown, by the experts, from Nature Conservation, what to do & how to do it when it comes to the rehabilitation procedures that will have to be implemented. They will ‘police’ the area for inappropriate behaviour & report such activities to the Conservation authorities for the appropriate action to be taken to check such events. We can not have bulbs being removed by indiscriminate people or have litter allowed to permeate the Renosterveld or the wetland. We have fauna in the area that are also on the endangered red data list, that must be protected from dogs that are allowed to roam, unchecked, in the ‘conservancy’ areas. Ignorant abuse of the Uitkamp area by human transgression has to be stopped. Bakkies & quad bikes have been driven through the Renosterveld in the past.
The Nature Conservation authorities are not only responsible for the Uitkamp & associated ‘veld’ but also have to care for the Durbanville Nature Reserve & the Renosterveld remnant in the heart of the Durbanville racecourse itself. They have their hands full & would appreciate help. Their current resources are very limited.
The D’Urbanvale Forum Committee representing the residents of D’Urbanvale & their concerns, inter alia environmental matters, will encourage & seek the co-operation of all parties to bring about a renewal of care & protection for the jewels of nature that the D’Urbanvale residents have at their finger tips.
We must preserve this heritage. If we do not, we will hand a barren bit of wasteland on to our successors & the next generation. In so doing we will lose a unique & incredibly valuable element of the Cape Floral Kingdom because of disinterest & disregard for our responsibilities while we pursue our own selfish interests to the exclusion of natures needs.