George Municipality wishes to thank citizens for their participation in the process of amendment of the Municipal Spatial Development Framework(MSDF).
The public participation period closed on 05 December 2018 and all inputs will now be consolidated and reviewed to determine how the MSDF proposals can be refined and/or improved.
Executive Mayor Melvin Naik and Council have taken note of the robust discussions that have been taking place on social media and appreciate the interest taken in the city’s spatial strategy. “We have reviewed certain of the interpretations and would like to stress that there are inaccuracies which are distorting the intent of the spatial strategy. George Municipality has adopted a sincere approach which seeks to create more efficiency, to capitalize on synergies and render an urban environment that is inclusive, sustainable and conducive to economic and social prosperity,” said Mayor Naik.
The subjective focus of these interpretations has distorted the overall holistic approach of the MSDF and the impression is left that urbanisation is promoted at all cost, even compromising natural and recreational amenity. The maintenance of integrated open spaces and safeguarding of natural water sources and corridors is well defined in the MSDF. George is in a privileged position where there is a wealth of undeveloped land within our city, which enables us to re-imagine our open space systems to render them more accessible and equitable.
Concerns raised around service delivery are relevant and the MSDF does address the need for review across all spheres of government. The MSDF acknowledges that the Western Cape Government’s ability to sustain quality education and health services and to keep up with demand is to a large extent reliant on an efficient urban form. The WCG is currently catching up with existing, historical demand and rationalizing service to sustain service delivery.
Much of what is refined in this version of the MSDF is already contained in the existing approved MSDF, which was adopted in 2013 and has been applied subsequently. The densification strategy is aimed toward promoting an average density of 25 dwelling units per hectare, which is by no means high and is embedded in provincial policy, being applied across the Western Cape province. The optimization of resources and infrastructure along with the consolidation of nodes is also already a part of the current spatial strategy and there is no reason to anticipate that growth will occur any differently to the way it has over the past 5 years.
“It must be stressed that the MSDF is not a development proposal and that there are currently no land development proposals or rezoning applications pending on any of these state-owned vacant properties. A land development application must precede the development of these sites, and such applications are subjected to extensive scrutiny. During this process, the thresholds of such sites are also assessed in terms of their capacity to harbour the intended development as well as the infrastructure and amenities needed to support it. Development rights are not granted where such criteria do not support the proposal, “ said Acting Director Planning and Development, Charles Lubbe
The city does not grow because of the proposals of the MSDF, so the impression that additional households from other parts of the country will be lured here, as a result, is ill-founded. The city ’s ability to render services and provide employment and economic opportunity are the stimulants for growth. The Constitution requires the municipality to be developmentally orientated within the boundaries of sustainability.
Our spatial strategies are aimed at formulating a response to growth to ensure a preparedness in respect of the service delivery mandates of all spheres of government. Adequate vacant and under-utilised land is available to accommodate the needs arising from growing demand, whether it be schools, medical facilities or social facilities. These functions are, however, spread across different spheres of government and different departments. The MSDF is a tool through which each respective department can develop their multi-year capital programmes in response to growth and economic development. Without a plan of this nature that defines priorities, it becomes extremely difficult for these departments to budget and respond to growth.
Overall, the MSDF involves improvement of the current strategies and improved alignment with policy and investment, to optimise latent potential and make the city work better for its people. We look forward to forging sound partnerships with our community representatives to continue open and transparent planning strategies for the city.