The start of Rondeberg holiday resort
Photos are missing and paragraph numbering got messed up in conversion - Webmaster
Regional Chief of the Chaplan Services of the South African Police in the Western Cape, Brigadier Coetzee, requested Dennis Moss Partnership
Inc. during July 1992 to assist members of the then South African Police (now S A Police Services) to plan a recreation/stress release
resort on the Remainder of Portion 27 of the farm Kromme Valley No. 113, Bulshoek Dam, division of Clanwilliam.
highlighted the increasing stress that the police services were having to work under and that dedicated stress re/ease resorts for
members of the police services were becoming an essential part of their lives. In order for a recreational/stress release resort to
be successful, it needs to be located in pleasant tranquil surroundings, away from the noise and pressures of urban environments.
It was for this reason that the Bulshoek Dam area was identified for the development of such a resort, with its natural, unspoilt
environment and tranquillity of the water surface area of the dam.
At the first congress of the Psychological Society of South
Africa recently held in Pietermaritzburg, the highly stressful plight of the police was highlighted (Argus, 22 April 1995, see report
in Annexure 1). The congress heard that life-threatening situations and deaths are faced daily by members of the police services.
Exposure to violence was not haphazard or coincidental, but part of routine duties. Such situations placed extreme stress on members
of the police services, who were resorting to their own methods of dealing with this stress, such as the use of alcohol, denial, etc.
The congress also heard that the incidence of suicides amongst the police had increased alarmingly, with 65 cases in 1991 which had
risen to 172 in 1994.
In order to deal with these increased levels of stress, the police services were entering into a proactive
programme of developing recreation/stress release resorts. In the Western Cape a Trust was formed with members of the SAPS as beneficiaries.
The aim of the Trust is to develop a resort to provide facilities for members of the police service and their families within tranquil,
natural surroundings, and to provide facilities where stress release lectures could be held.
The Trust took out an option to
purchase the farm Rondeberg (Remainder of Portion 27 of the farm Kromme Valley No. 113) from the owner Mr H.B. Genis during 1993,
with the proviso that approval of a recreation/stress release resort could be obtained. This office was requested during August 1993
to prepare a preliminary master plan for such a resort, and to discuss the principles of establishing such a resort with the West
Coast RSC, and the Bulshoek Dam property owners.
I Preliminary meetings were arranged between the SAPS, the RSC and the Bulshoek
Dam property owners to discuss the proposed resort. The advantages of having a resort on the dam were also highlighted, namely that:
the SAPS could act as the controlling agent for the Property Owners' Association to ensure that the use and control of the water body
was carried out;
* the presence of the police would assist in ensuring that law and order was maintained on the properties around
the dam; and
* the facilities offered by the resort would be available for the use of the property owners, thus providing them
with alternative recreation opportunities other than using the water body. (The clubhouse would also be available for various functions,
either private or in association with the police and other property owners).
As the proposals of the SAPS for developing the
recreational/stress release resort were in keeping with the recommendations of the Structure Plan of Bulshoek Dam and had distinct
advantages for the overall control of the recreational use of the water surface area of the dam and surrounding area in general, the
property owners' and the RSC gave their approval, in principle, for the proposed development.
Based on this support, the Trust
purchased and took transfer of the property during February 1994.
A number of formal meetings took place with the authorities
and property owners during the latter part of 1994, when the Bulshoek Dam Property, Owners' Association was formally constituted.
March 1995, the Trust requested this office to submit an application for the rezoning of the property and the development of the resort.
As part of the motivation for the rezoning application, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the resort was also requested
to ensure that the resort would not have any significant negative impacts on the biophysical and social environments of the dam and
surrounds. This report
describes the results of the EIA.
2.0 EXISTING LAND USE
The existing land use zoning of the Remainder
of Portion 27 of the Farm I Kromme Valley No. 113 is Agriculture Zone I. The farm was used in the past for the growing of potatoes.
Two potato fields were developed on the farm and covered an area of some 84ha. The one was irrigated by a full
circular centre pivot
and the other by a semi-circular centre pivot (Figure 2). Water for irrigation is obtained from the Bulshoek Dam according to the
applicable water quota determined by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), who control the allocation of irrigation
water from the dam.
The remainder of the farm consists of natural vegetation.
Apart from the income generated by property
owners from the long term leasing of caravan stands and erven to holiday makers, some income is generated from agriculture. The agricultural
practices comprise cash crops such as vegetables (potatoes) and stock farming (goats and sheep). As far as the property in question
is concerned (Farm 113/27), the Rondeberg Oord Trust have leased a portion of their land to a neighbouring farmer for the planting
of potatoes (a copy of the lease concerning the portion to be used for agricultural purposes will be submitted under separate cover).
A portion of the farm is also to be planted to vineyards and various citrus
cultivars. The latter is to be undertaken by the state
research farm on an experimental basis.
6.4 SOCIAL COMMITMENT BY SAPS SERVICES
The Rondeberg resort will have a full time
caretaker in its employ. This caretaker will be a retired police official. The Trust have indicated that such an official could be
assigned the task, by the Property Owners Association, for ensuring that the recommended regulations for the use of the water body
are adhered to, and for ensuring general law and order over the dam area.
7.0 THE ANTICIPATED IMPACTS OF THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
ON THE BIOPHYSICAL AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENTS
7.1 IMPACTS ON THE BIOPHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
In order to reduce any negative impacts
of the proposed development on the biophysical environment of the property, the caravan sites and chalets have been sited on disturbed
ground away from the natural environment (Photograph 1). In so doing, the development is also brought into closer contact with the
waters edge, thus adding to the holiday experience. No buildings are however closer than 10m to the 1:50 flood level or below 2m above
the 1:50 flood level, whichever is the further from the waters edge.
Any other siting of the development on the farm will either
impact on the natural environment or on agricultural ground. Development on the natural, undisturbed areas will be difficult and expensive
to build on as the soil cover overlying rock is shallow, thus necessitating blasting to install electrical, water and sewage services.
The disturbance of the naturalI vegetation using these methods of construction would therefore be great. For this reason, the chalets
have been sited on the gently sloping, raised, sandy embankment of the dam that was once used for agricultural
purposes. The caravan
sites have been placed on the upper sandy terrace at the base of the rock "escarpment" (Photograph 2). The rock backdrop will protect
the caravans from the prevailing west and northwest winds and will also provide protection for the growing of trees.
sand covering the sites of the chalet and caravan nodes will assist greatly with the installation of engineering services. These sites
are currently covered with Cynodon dactylon (kweek) grass.
7.3 IMPACTS ON THE WATER SURFACE AREA OF THE DAM
the Structure Plan for the Bulshoek Dam, the Property Owners' Association will monitor the recreational use of the water surface area
of the dam, and in particular the use of power boats. Management measures for the control of power boats will be instituted when congestion
and unsafe boating conditions arise.
As indicated above (Section 6) the SAPS have volunteered their services to the Property
Owners' Association for ensuring that the management rules for boating, drafted by the Association, will be carried out.
the SAPS have given the undertaking that their members staying at the resort will only use a maximum of 5 power boats at any one point
in time, and will obviously abide by the management measures instituted by the Association for controlling the use of power boats
on the dam. It is therefore anticipated that the recreational use of the dam by members of the SAPS staying at the proposed resort
will not have a negative impact on the water body. In fact the presence of the police on the water in their official controlling capacity
could only have a positive impact on the ordered recreational use of the water body.
8.0 THE PROPOSED PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE
It is the intention of the Trust to rezone the naturally vegetated Rondeberg hill from Agriculture Zone I to Open
Space III with the aim of declaring a Private Nature Reserve in terms of Section 12(1) of the Cape Nature and Environmental Conservation
Ordinance, 19 of 1974. In terms of this
Ordinance, a Management Plan will have to be prepared for managing the Nature Reserve in its
It should, however, be noted that the development of the resort will not directly impact on the natural areas
to be incorporated into the proposed Private Nature Reserve. It is envisaged to eventually have a walking trail through this natural
area. The alignment of such a trail will be subject to the findings of the more detailed environmental studies envisaged for drafting
the Management Plan. Nature trails through natural areas are generally accepted to have the lowest impact (non-consumptive) on natural
systems of all the recreational persuits. For the above reasons, it is proposed that the development of the resort should be allowed
to go ahead before the drafting of a Management Plan for managing the natural area of the farm. Similarly, it is proposed that the
more detailed environmental studies required for drafting the Management Plan should commence once approval for the development of
the resort has been granted.