Blogs » WildCoast.Com's blog

Hole in the Wall and Sense of Place

The current "Integrated Development Plan" for King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality (Link: KSD IDP 2017-2022) mentions no fewer than 7 times that Hole in the Wall is considered a Heritage Site, but that it is not yet proclaimed. And it further warns of the danger of uncontrolled developments.

Yet despite investigating our complaint about the parking lot overlooking the Hole, DEDEAT takes absolutely no cognizance of the disastrous impact on the "Sense of Place" to the surrounds and view site overlooking the Hole in the Wall. Instead, they've sanctioned raising the road level by approximately 4 metres above the watercourse, and widening the roadway to over 15 metres to provide "bus bays" and parking, so that people can enjoy the privilege of seeing the Hole from the comfort of their vehicles. At what cost?

This past Saturday was the busiest day we've seen since March and the lockdown, and at around 15:00 the glare from half a dozen windscreens, alone, was blinding! And the views from the hillside itself are impacted from millions of angles. The "whole" is discarded in favour of a myopic front-row view of the Hole, only.

Dept. of Transport have apparently instructed that this view site be tarred and completed before the new year. But they have yet to complete the actual road leading there. The far more necessary 10km stretch between Coffee Bay and Hole in the Wall has been abandoned for the past two years, after they completed a total of 2,4km of tarring, and left another 1km tarred on one side only. Not to mention the road (DR18031) from Mqanduli to Coffee Bay is in an absolutely appalling state, and should be a FAR higher priority.

Cases for the preservation of the Sense of Place

The King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality's Integrated Development Plan for 2017 - 2022 (KSD IDP) warns of the danger of uncontrolled developments. For example:
2.10.9.3 Heritage 
The Hole in the Wall feature and Nelson Mandela Museum contributes to the heritage of the area. The Municipality also lies along the pristine wild coast. 
Threats: 

  • The heritage sites are not clearly identified 
  • There is also no proper control 
  • Proclamation of the Hole in the Wall so that it can be graded as National heritage site has to be done

And the (final) roadworks Environmental Impact Report PDF (2010 EIR) quotes the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999) on page 98:

The Act defines a heritage resource as any place or object of cultural significance i.e. of aesthetic, architectural, historical, scientific, social, spiritual, linguistic or technological value or significance. This includes, but is not limited to, the following wide range of places and objects: 
* landscapes and natural features; 
* geological sites of scientific or cultural importance;

Possibilities

There is a good chance that Hole in the Wall will be accoladed with World Heritage Site status, and the hillside where they are building a parking lot should definitely be rehabilitated and preserved to maintain the sense of place. On arrival, visitors should see a beautiful rolling green hillside - which is the hallmark of the Wild Coast.

Ironically enough: 

EIR page 115: Aesthetic Impacts: The erosion occurring along side the gravel roads, and the damage to rivers as a result of substandard structures has an aesthetic impact. The condition of the parking area in close proximity to the Hole-in-the-Wall feature distracts from the aesthetics of the area (the parking area is polluted and eroded); 

The photo below was taken a year ago, and you can still feel the Sense of Place:

Hole in the Wall has become infamous for the youth who harass tourists and demand outrageous prices for guarding cars or guiding them to the river.

The EIR recommends that the braai/entertainment areas should be outsourced to local communities, and this would be an invaluable short-term project to engage and uplift the disaffected youth of Hole in the Wall.

From where this photo is taken, there should be a clear view of the actual Hole. And in fact the area is THE ideal place for the turning circle, convenient parking, and picnic spots. It's sheltered from the prevailing NE and SW winds, has trees for shade, and is truly a pretty picnic spot:

EIR PDF page 94: Must-Have Construction related impacts for which further investigation is essential, include:

Heritage Resource Impacts.

Yet no mention is made of the view site in the Heritage Impact Assessment included in the EIR.

EIR page 99: A Heritage Impact Assessment must address the following key aspects:

• the identification and mapping of all heritage resources in the area affected;

an assessment of the significance of such resources in terms of heritage assessment criteria set out in regulations;

  • an assessment of the impact development on heritage resources;
  • an evaluation of the impact of the development on heritage resources relative to the sustainable social and economic benefits to be derived from the development;
  • the results of consultation with communities affected by the proposed development and other interested parties regarding the impact of the development on heritage resources;
  • if heritage resources will be adversely affected by the proposed development, the consideration of alternatives; and
  • plans for mitigation of any adverse effects during and after completion of the proposed development.

It's truly not a lot we're asking of government. Merely to mitigate the hugely detrimental impact on the sense of place, create work opportunities for disaffected youth, and enshrine the Hole in the Wall's status as a heritage site by rehabilitating and protecting the last hillside for future generations' enjoyment. 

There are government led initiatives such as the EPWP and YES programmes which are mandated to provide employment opportunities, and this is a perfect opportunity for them to help save our heritage and keep us all Proudly South African. 

Ilifa lethu

Comments

Add new comment

Total views: 166

Hole in the Wall Nature Reserve links