A broad overview of the ISDF, the plan for Knysna’s future, was presented to Knysna Municipality’s Section 80 Planning Committee on February 24 2016 by Laurie Barwell, a likeable gentleman from Knysna Creative Heads.
“An Integrated Strategic Development Framework (ISDF) is a long-term overarching document that sets out our community’s vision and aspirations for the future. It identifies how we will get from where we are to where we want to be,” said Barwell. “It’s something that no other municipality in the country has attempted. It’s a groundbreaking report.”
We were told that the goal of the ISDF is to build on what works and to address what isn’t working. It requires understanding community aspirations and monitoring their feedback. The community, especially the youth, has to buy into the plan for their future.
It begins by understanding “the environmental, economic and societal reality of the citizens of Knysna. The vision is where people and nature prosper. The mission is to provide affordable, quality services through integrated development planning and sustainable resource management.”
Key issues identified were housing, jobs, infrastructure and safety.
To achieve this, the strategic initiatives included developing neighbourhood structure nodes, building a range of housing options to cater to different income groups, to develop well located areas, the creation of open spaces for recreation and tourism, and the revitalisation and diversification of rural areas.
It was stressed that, “Business as usual is unsustainable!”
It is estimated that Knysna needs to create an estimated 15 012 permanent jobs by 2030 so as to cope with Knysna’s population grown.
There’s needs to be a partnership between public and private. To attract investment there needs to be affordability (rentals, rates, taxes), market connectivity and skilled labour. There must be innovation.
An alternative approach is to create a blue and green economy.
One of the conclusions is that there has to be citizen ownership of the ISDF i.e. ongoing future engagement as the plan is implemented.
As usual, anything involving Knysna’s ISDF ends in controversy.
Despite objections from ANC Chief Whip Stephen de Vries that the Committee needs to understand the draft and have more information before it before sending it on to the Mayoral Committee (MAYCO) meeting, Chairperson Peter Myers used his DA majority to push the motion through.
It’s notable that Myers continues to seemingly shift from ISDF critic to supporter.
It may be that the DA wants to get the ISDF approved under their watch so that they have influence on Knysna’s future if they lose the forthcoming municipal election.
Similarly, It may be that the ANC wants to delay the ISDF, hoping to win the town and gain more participation in the ISDF.