Fynbos versus a life

John Arter, Tokai, Margareth Kahle

(“Time for healing and restoring,” Bulletin Letters March 9) starts off with the noble ideals of, “Now is the time for healing”, etc, but then quotes how fabulous the precious acid sandbos is and the wonderful achievements of SANParks. Then she goes on about the fynbos area paths used by hundreds for many activities that are not allowed by SANParks.

The children never play in fynbos. Cycling, horse riding etc are not permitted.

On hot days, people are just not seen in fynbos. Most prefer the cool shaded forest. The fynbos brigade has a myopic view of the area wanting sandbos up to the urban fringe, citing looming extinction.

The area under pines is down to about 25ha, 20 percent of the existing total. With over the road from Orpen Road now felled, the treed area is down to under 10 percent. Is this not enough to satisfy them?

What they already have is clearly sustainable. The first fynbos area opened is already over 15 years old. This too will have to burn. Residents had to suffer a pall of smoke for days and the area across Orpen Road is now due to be burnt. No problem for Ms Kahle who resides in Wynberg.

There is a lack of safe shaded recreational space in the southern suburbs. Not everyone enjoys beaches or are able to hike and climb mountains.

The Tokai plantation area is loved and well utilised by many, a large proportion being senior citizens who treasure this recreational space. They deserve to have a safe and shaded facility.

Fynbos right up to the urban area that surrounds Tokai Park is a safety risk. The tragic murder of Franziska Blöchliger took place in fynbos and not among the trees where visibility is good (thanks for reporting this correctly Karen Watkins). The fynbos where the attack happened is only chest high and you could hide a company of soldiers in it.

Dr Tony Rebello’s statement that you could just as easily get attacked among the trees is ridiculous. The fynbos was ideal cover for the attack.

There are areas along the boardwalks where SANParks have not bothered to cut overgrown grasses for ages and these are also unsafe. Damaged boardwalk timbers have not been repaired for weeks now. But SANParks is doing a wonderful job according to Ms Kahle.

I realise the pines will have to go at some future date, but the discussion now should be about what replaces them. Hopefully something that offers “safe” shaded coolness acceptable to all users, not just the fynbos brigade.

No amount of extra fynbos is worth the tragic loss of a child.