MEMBERS OF THE FAIRVALLEY ASSOCIATION ARE SO EXITED AND MOVED BY THE COUNCIL RESOLUTION OF YESTERDAY THAT OPENS THE WAY FOR THEM TO FINALLY HAVE THEIR OWN HOMES ON THEIR OWN LAND AFTER AN ETERNAL LONG TWELVE YEARS.
No words will describe the high hopes and the heartbreaking disappointments that the members of the Fair Valley Farm Workers’ Association experienced since 1997, when they acquired the 18 hectare farmland near Paarl.
Those who are familiar with the story and followed the events during these 12 years must appreciate the importance of this resolution. The Fairvalley land was until yesterday outside of the Drakenstein Municipal boundaries that allowed urban development of any kind. While acquiring the land, the Fairview farm workers were hoping that in a few years they will be able to realize a genuine empowerment by a substantial ownership over their own homes and properties. It started with ownership on land, but apparently this was not enough. The land zoned agriculture and any kind of development to allow for the 59 original families to settle down was declined by the authorities. One of the main arguments was the Urban Edge. So even if the farmland is no longer viable for agriculture, as it really is; and even if so many people promised so many promises; and even when the Fair Valley Association sighed a JV agreement with Kagiso Urban Management, of the Kagiso Trust Investment’s Property group, which finally introduced the required resources for a proper development on the land, - the main obstacle remained the Urban Edge boundaries. The FairValley land was left outside...
During the last few months, the FairValley EcoVillage got its framework shaped. The Urban Design Framework was presented and broadly accepted by the officials and the politicians. It all just simply makes sense due to the thorough work done by the professional team. Planners love it because it demonstrates the highest possible urban design standarts; politicians love it because it paves the way for thousands of South Africans to have a home of their own. The combination of sustainability and business viability alongside with solid proven design solutions for infrastructure and top-structure is utmost convincing.
Since the council passed a resolution to amend the Urban Edge in December 13th 2007 already, the Drakenstein municipality led a constant dialog with Province regarding this matter. In August 2008 the Province’s officials sent their comments, widely objecting every little bit of the expansion.
In November 3rd 2008, Deputy Mayor Councillor W Nothnagel met with Minister P Uys. This meeting paved the way for yesterday’s resolution as it was made clear that a decision regarding delineation of the Urban Edge lies with the Local Council. It was also made clear that council had the options to - reaffirm its decision from December 2007; to align it with the Province’s officials’ comments; or to try again finding a common ground with them.
Finally, Council has resolved yesterday to reaffirm its decision from 2007 and to accept the amended Urban Edge [version number 4] as its final edge. This embraces FairValley into the Urban pattern of Drakenstein and begins a new chapter in the life of the Fair Valley members.
Please stay with us. We shall keep you posted on our progress and hopefully one of these days invite you to our homes on FairValley EcoVillage.