Park plan up for review

The Tokai Cecilia Management Framework 2005 – 2025 is to undergo a public review.

A plan that describes a long-term vision for key sections of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) is to go out for public review.

South African National Parks (SANParks) is to start a public consultation process towards the end of May for the review of the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework.

The 2005 to 2025 framework outlines a 20 year vision, setting out broad proposals for Tokai and Cecilia.

TMNP manager Frans van Rooyen said the intended first review of the framework was delayed in 2015 by the peninsula fires, the 2016 to mid-2018 litigation process and the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2016, Parkscape, a community-based environmental group in Tokai, said they wanted SANParks to engage with locals about the tree-felling at the Tokai park (“Pine court battle postponed to October,” Bulletin, September 15, 2016). This after the Western Cape High Court temporarily halted the harvesting of the pine trees until the next court hearing in October 2016 after community members applied for an interim court interdict.

The Mountain to Ocean (MTO) Forestry Company started harvesting in August 2016 in the Lower Tokai area to make room for the fynbos to re-establish (“Pines get the chop,” Bulletin September 1, 2016). A group of angry residents protested against the removal, claiming SANParks had gone against the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework, which had been signed in 2006.

The TMNP says all stakeholders and interested groups will be drawn into the process to look at workable scenarios for the future of the Tokai and Cecilia areas as vital management sections of the TMNP, similar to areas such as the Silvermine and Noordhoek wetlands, which were also subject to significant changes upon being incorporated into the Table Mountain National Park.

Mr Van Rooyen said the facilitator and SANParks would soon publish the arrangements for the meeting and the contact details.

Ms Schmidt said it was good to see the long overdue public participation process of the Tokai-Cecilia Management Framework begin.

“We encourage all those who wish to have a say in the future of Lower Tokai, the Tokai picnic area, the Arboretum, middle and upper Tokai and the Cecilia area in Constantia, to get involved and let their voice be heard. This applies particularly for the many who have called for safe and shaded recreational space in Lower Tokai,” she said.

Dr Berta van Rooyen, of Tokai, said the review of the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework was welcomed by all who cared about the heritage of the area.

“The constant threat of fire to Dennendal, Sweet Valley and Tokai suburbs from the Tokai Plantation will certainly be high on the agenda for concerned citizens. Recreational activities should be brought in line with nature conservation policies in particular the protection of the fynbos programme. The educational value of Tokai Park will benefit research and the public in the caring for and appreciation of this very special section of the Table Mountain National Park by a proper review of the framework,” said Dr Van Rooyen.

Cecilia Forest