Blue Mountain Village Security estate, located on the Eastern flank of George, encompasses 80 hectares of privately-owned real estate, one of the fastest growing property nodes in the area.
According to Town Planner at the George Municipality, Paul Louw, the blueprint for the property was created by an independent town planner and the municipality's role is to evaluate the application and conduct the required inspections.
"As a Town Planner you have many responsibilities, but the most important one is that of forward planning. When consultants channel their applications for upcoming projects to the Deputy Director, it gets passed on to me for comment. Each application is then evaluated in terms of structural plans, scheme regulations and sensitive coastal management plans if the project is in a sensitive area," says Louw.
Software to simplify
"The building of the electronic town is another vital task that poses numerous challenges. We create the town map by using survey general diagrams and general plans to input into AllyCAD so that the data can be used in GIS format when required. I couldn't imagine embarking on such a project without the help of AllyCAD, I love working with the program.
Paul explains how the survey general diagrams are available in hard copy and then drawn in AllyCAD before being converted to GIS. Objects are used to represent erven when constructing the electronic town and the data is then exported in shape file format.
"With the vast quantities of information that is input, there is always the risk of duplication. Sometimes you have a layer over a layer, a duplicated erf number or even double lines that need to be cleaned up. This causes endless queries and the clean-up process keeps us very busy," says Paul, adding that the corrections are necessary as the information would otherwise be rejected when converting it to GIS.
Scheme regulations and structure plans are done in accordance with the Integrated Development Programme (IDP). The IDP provides the ideal platform where the needs of the community can be discussed with an advisory body. The programme is largely community driven and meetings are conducted in all areas throughout the region in order to get people involved in the future planning of their district, suburb or town. Community feedback is then evaluated against the council's budget.
Paul explains how the ownership of land largely dictates the selection procedure of consultants: "If the land is council property, the council will put out a tender for developers and invite proposals. We will then evaluate these proposals before submitting them to council.
Demand for resources
Sometimes we evaluate up to 20 proposals at a time and each one needs to be backed by a written report stating the reasons why someone was successful or unsuccessful. With privately owned property, the owner obtains quotes from 3 or 4 consultants and then makes his choice; we therefore only need to evaluate one proposal - so it is a lot easier."
On average, a Town Planner completes between 10 and 20 proposals per month. There is also a backlog at any time of around 500 building plans that require approval and efforts have been made to acquire additional personnel within the municipality to cope with the demand.
Undaunted through, Louw explains: "There's no such thing as pressure. You simply do what you have to do in the time that you have. It's as simple as that."