Dec 16, 2011
Crossways project dubbed SA’s ‘town of the future’Back
Bloemfontein|Port Elizabeth|Thornhill|CMAI|Property Development|South Africa|Woodridge College|Energy Grid|Food Security|Food Security Capability|Green Building|High-tech Infrastructure|Property Development|Streetlight Manufacturing|Eastern Cape|Thesen Islands|Van Stadens River|Chris Mulder|Eastern Cape|Energy-saving Technology|Fibre-optic Technology
© Reuse this
The village is expected to operate almost independently of the national energy grid and it will also be the first rural town fully integrated with an existing agriculture component, in this case a professionally run dairy farm, and one where future food security has formed an important component of the overall planning.
Earlier this month, Minister of Rural Devel- opment and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti oversaw the installation of all services for the first residential and industrial phases. All the industrial stands and 70% of the residential stands in these phases have been sold and construction of the first houses is expected to start by April next year.
The industrial stands, located some distance from the residential nodes, are intended for light cottage industries with a strong artisanal and agriprocessing character.
Architectural and property development firm CMAI founder Dr Chris Mulder was responsible for the design, planning and implementation of the R3.4-billion project.
Mulder, whose Thesen Islands project, in the Knysna lagoon, won two CNBC International Property Development Awards in 2007, says Crossways Farm Village will combine the bene- fits of a healthy rural existence with all the conveniences of sophisticated urban living.
Speaking to Engineering News, he notes that the specific area was chosen as it has such good farmland. “There is also good access off the N2 on a double lane freeway into Port Elizabeth, as well as the established Woodridge College, which has been in existence for more than 60 years and has a good curriculum.
“The existing rural village of Thornhill with 3 000 people, in the middle of nowhere, with no jobs in sight, was moved here 45 years ago. CMAI signed a legal agreement with the community of Thornhill about 2 km from Crossways, which will see a donation of R15-million out of our sales for upliftment and community projects,” he notes.
The coalition aims to create jobs and nurture training and participation in a number of smaller contracts on site, such as streetlight manufacturing, refuse collection by private entrepreneurs, maintenance contracts in the town, and many more.
“The whole philosophy of the entire project is to ensure the food security capability, that good agricultural land is retained, poverty is alleviated, jobs are created, contracts are made available to smaller operators, and to demonstrate how private initiatives can make a meaningful impact on rural development when the correct land laws are in place,” says Mulder.
“Now there is real hope for this almost 50-year-old abandoned community for employment, to become proud and independent and to provide for their children and to educate them. We want to demonstrate how we can take an old village, a remnant of the previous system in South Africa, and a community of 3 000 people and make them a vibrant part of a new rural town or a greater village and rural community,” he adds.
The town consists of 747 residential stands of varying sizes divided into neighbourhoods spread throughout the 563 ha site, of which more than half will be a conservation area.
Earlier, the Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism of the Eastern Cape as well as the national Department of Agriculture have approved the plans for the development without any preconditions.
Mulder says Crossways is expected to set the benchmark for green building practices and will be the most advanced town in South Africa because of its high-tech infrastructure.
“We plan to take the entire town of almost 800 stands off the national grid by means of photovoltaic technology, which will provide us with a total alternative energy plan.
“The implementation of this technology will be made possible by the fibre-optic data communication network which will be installed throughout the development. The alternative energy and energy-saving technology will be built into the town’s infrastructure from the outset, which means all owners will enjoy these benefits as standard features,” he explains.
Mulder notes the design of one of the new houses illustrates this approach well. “Some 80 solar roof panels will provide the full energy requirements of the house, storing the excess produced in an integrated bank of photovoltaic batteries with the capacity to provide the energy needs of the house for three days. Additional excess can be fed into the town’s own energy grid and be sold by the owner for use elsewhere.
“Rainwater harvested from the roof will be stored in three 1 000 ℓ tanks built into the structure of the house, while a unique heat-pump system will circulate pool water through the flooring system to heat or cool the building to reduce seasonal temperature variances.”
Mulder says that once the upgraded dairy farm with its stud herd is fully operational and generating profits, it will be ceded, debt-free, to the town.
“On our estate, the ranges of a golf course are replaced by 130 ha of organic grass under irrigation, our club members are 500 stud Holstein cows, mowing the fairways free and producing income, while our club house is a state-of-the-art milking parlour,” Mulder notes, tongue in cheek.
CMAI has also looked at developing similar estates, but Mulder says this has been quite challenging. “We are currently working on the same concept at two or three places. The first one, at Kurland, in the Western Cape, has been kept waiting by the Western Cape provincial government as it does not have a declared rural development policy or does not allow these types of developments outside their current urban-edge policies.
“We started working on Kurland, 20 km outside Plettenberg Bay, five or six years ago. Crossways Farm Village is based on this concept, and here we are undertaking construction, while, at Kurland, we are not even halfway through the planning application process. It saddens me immensely that the Western Cape planning authorities policy does not allow this [development],” he concludes
The company is also currently working on a similar agrivillage in Bloemfontein.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Construction News
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
This Week's Magazine
A structured approach, wherein managers personally engage at each level of the project, is necessary to mitigate delays to the workflow on mega construction projects, says State-owned Eskom Kusile power station projects GM Abram Masango. The 4 800 MW Kusile power...
Construction of transmission lines to evacuate power from a regional hydroelectric project in East Africa, which was hanging on the balance following the withdrawal of financing by key partners, is now back on track. After six months of uncertainty, the African...
Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between South African and Malaysian companies at the Malaysian High Commission in Pretoria on Friday. These MoUs are part of the indirect offsets programme South Africa is providing in return for Malaysia’s...
The South African new vehicle market may well dip to 640 000 units in 2014, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) sales and marketing senior VP Calvyn Hamman. This is the first prediction that anticipates a drop in the market. To date economists and industry bodies...
Nissan will re-enter the South African minibus taxi industry in March, when the new NV350 Impendulo goes on sale. The 16-seater has been specifically tailored to meet the terms of government’s Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, which aims to replace South Africa’s...