Margaret Kahle, Wynberg
The judge has pronounced – thank heavens, at last.
Having laboriously read his judgment, it is astonishing to conclude that this whole kerfuffle was merely about some persons being aggrieved at not receiving prior warning of the pines being harvested by their rightful owners.
However, that is now water under the bridge. Now is time for healing, to restore harmony in the community and most of all, time for all to attempt to fully understand the issues at hand.
In his judgment, the judge made it very clear that the land of Lower Tokai, including the Dennedal and other remnant plantations, is part of the Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site, and as such falls under SANParks which is mandated to conserve its natural biodiversity. Furthermore that the pines are to be harvested by MTO after sufficient notice has been given to the community.
It is thus now beholden upon the community to pull together to ensure that these objectives happen in a peaceful and enlightened fashion.
SANParks, together with other bodies, has achieved a marvellous feat with the Lower Tokai Park adjacent to the Dennedal plantation. It is a wonderful open area with beautiful paths used by hundreds for strolling, dog walking, jogging, cycling and horseriding.
But much more significant is the superb regeneration of the natural Cape Sand Fynbos, a critically endangered ecosystem, from a seedbank that had lain dormant for decades under the pines. That species in the hundreds have all been rescued from local, and in some cases global extinction is truly cause for celebration.
In this era of mass extinction at an horrendous pace, we Capetonians can take pride that in this small corner of the earth we are achieving the opposite with an ecosystem otherwise facing a bleak future.
Let us all join hands as custodians of our fellow living creatures and in harmony allow MTO and SANParks to perform their mandates.
We will never be the losers for nature will reward us many fold over with her beauty. May our children never have cause to utter the words “How could you allow something so precious to disappear . . .” Let us all remember – extinction is forever.
* Margaret Kahle is also a member of the Friends of Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area.