Local group wants answers from SANParks over treeless future of Tokai plantation
A community-based organisation wants clarity from the South African National Parks (SANParks) on how it will continue providing shaded areas for public recreation in Tokai Forest.
Parkscapes says SANParks has not been forthcoming about how it will maintain shaded recreational areas after pine trees in the lower Tokai plantation are cut down.
The chairperson of Parkscapes, Nicky Schmidt, says SANParks officials have failed to engage with interest groups and community members on a public platform.
According to Schmidt, pine trees in the forest are scheduled to be cut down in 2025, as per the harvesting schedule.
The area that we're talking about is the area that is at the corner of Orpen Road and Dennedal West Avenue.Nicky Schmidt, Chairperson - Parkscapes
The area is used for recreational activities including walking, hiking, dog-walking, mountain biking, trail running, horse riding, mountain climbing.
Schmidt says SANParks has been silent on how the urban national park will continue to meet community needs.
We need to get to the table and engage in a consultation process around what happens to the area.Nicky Schmidt, Chairperson - Parkscapes
SANParks' position is that, despite the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework which provides for shaded recreation, they want all the trees gone and they want to observe their biodiversity mandates.Nicky Schmidt, Chairperson - Parkscapes
They [SANParks] want to give the whole area over to the Fynbos conservation site.Nicky Schmidt, Chairperson - Parkscapes
As reported by IOL, Parkscapes won a previous court battle in 2018 in which SANParks was blocked from felling pine trees in part of the Tokai plantation without public consultation.
CapeTalk's attempts to reach SANParks for comment have been unsuccessful so far.
Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:
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