Development inevitably means tree canopies make way for solid roofs, while ‘green’ becomes a useful sales pitch and wildlife habitat is destroyed. But on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, compromise is key
Words Andrea Abbott Pictures Andrea Abbott and Geoff Nichols
‘It is self-evident that the massive growth in the human population through the 20th century has had more impact on biodiversity than any other single factor.’ Few would argue with this statement to the UK government by ex-Durbanite Sir David King, now a leading scientific advisor to the British Government.
More people means more development, of housing in particular, and this puts great pressure on remaining open spaces so that, bit by bit, nature is lost. And in South Africa, the understandable demand for heightened security is perhaps the chief reason for the mushrooming of fenced residential estates. Along the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, for example, large developments have completely transformed the character of one-time small towns. Development is a fact of life, but must it be at the cost of biodiversity?
“Compromise is key,” says horticulturist and habitat specialist Geoff Nichols as we tour the well-known Zimbali Coastal Resort near Ballito on the KZN North Coast. Geoff has played a major role in conserving and promoting biodiversity on the estate since the early days of the project. It’s an expansive development between the M4 freeway and the beach and comprises nearly 1 000 completed residential homes (with more to follow), two hotels, a golf course and 33 kilometres of internal roads.
[…] Story continues in our July 2015 edition – available as a digital magazine on Zinio.