The Planning Process

The CMDA's Spatial Planning and Information Systems Department is involved in three levels of planning for the Cato Manor Development Project. Overall planning initiatives such as the formulation of the Structure Plan and the Economic Development Strategy ensure that development in the area conforms to a sound spatial and economic framework. Land use control occurs at the precinct level whilst the team has continuous input into the detailed planning processes necessary to implement housing schemes, social facilities and infrastructure projects. 

Strategic Environmental AssessmentOverall Planning:
The Greater Cato Manor Structure Plan provides the spatial framework for all future development in the Greater Cato Manor area. The Structure Plan was taken through a comprehensive participatory process in 1997 and finalised in 1998. The document was translated into Zulu which made it more accessible to all role players.

A framework for the provision of social facilities is necessary in order to ensure that site dimension standards are realistic and facilities are distributed evenly throughout the area. A Health Plan was prepared in 1997 and approved by all relevant authorities in 1998. An overall Schools Plan is in progress whilst innovative site standards for schools have been developed in conjunction with CMDA project staff. The Multi-Purpose Centre concept where schools are combined spatially with a library community hall and sports field has been applied in the Wiggins, Cato Crest and Chesterville Ext. precincts.

The need for an all purpose community security facility has resulted in a concept for a Community Safety Centre in the Central Node precinct.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Structure Plan dovetailed with the finalisation of the Structure Plan. The study done by the CSIR, was the first to be completed in Durban.  An essential element of the forward planning vision for Cato Manor is an effective Transportation system. Phase I of the Greater Cato Manor Transportation Study was completed in 1998 and phase two will be undertaken in 1999.

It is essential that future development in Cato Manor is sustainable from an economic point of view. Jobs need to be created and economic opportunities for small and emerging business will ensure some growth for the area. Concept frameworks and briefs were prepared for the formulation of the Economic Development Strategy and the Historical and Cultural Preservation Strategy in late 1998. The goals of the latter are to conserve the area's historical and cultural heritage, to create socio-economic opportunities and to promote a sense of social cohesion within the community.

Precinct Planning:
The 2OOOha that comprises Cato Manor has been divided into 19 manageable geographical units referred to as precincts. Each of these precincts is managed individually and precinct development plans (PDP's) have been prepared, within the framework set by the Structure Plan. The function of the PDP's is to facilitate the hands-on management of each of these spatial units, providing direction on development control and a framework for future development, The planning approval of these sites is accelerated by the function of the Fast Track Plans Approval Committee convened by the South Central Local Council's Development and Planning Unit for this particular purpose. This and other communications mechanisms have been set up in conjunction with relevant Metro departments to ensure that development is not frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic procedures.

Spatial Information System:
One of the key functions of the planning department is the ongoing management of the CMDA's Spatial Information System. This ensures that CMDA staff and appointed consultants have access to information pertaining to the development of the area. The Spatial Information System refers to the combination of the Computer-based Geographic Information System (GIS), Computer Aided Design software (CAD) and the maintenance of a map filing system. A key component of the system is the GIS which was established in 1996. Since its inception the GIS has evolved from a mapping tool to an information system that assists project managers and planners with the ongoing implementation of the CMDA's spatial vision. The relationship is reciprocal and dynamic: CMDA's GIS staff provide data to project staff when required and information is fed back into the GIS once implementation occurs. One of the biggest challenges of the CMDA's GIS is to utilise it as an analytical tool. In this regard the GIS was particularly effective in the land claims settlement process.

GIS Land ClaimGIS & Land Claims:
The Settlement Agreement reached between the land claimants, the local authorities and the Department of Land Affairs (April 1997), created an opportunity for the GIS to be utilised as an effective analytical and management tool. The settlement process required the investigation of the feasibility of restoring land to claimants based on a number of criteria. These criteria include current land ownership, topographical elements, geotechnical stability and planned projects on the CMDA Annual Work Programme. An automated GIS programme (written by Manning Hoffmann and Partners)tested each claim against these criteria, reaching a conclusion on whether the restoration of the claim was feasible or not. This information has been used during the course of mediation with each claimant.
In many ways the GIS assisted in ensuring that the tight deadlines prescribed by the agreement were met. It has also proven to be a useful information management tool for this purpose. By the end of 1998, 70% of the approximately 450 claim feasibility reports had been produced.

 
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