Historic Klein Zeekoevlei wetland to be a key feature at Sitari Country Estate

Historic Klein Zeekoevlei wetland to be a key feature at Sitari Country Estate

The wetlands will attract birdlife and include walkways and boardwalks linking up from the clubhouse.

Development is in progress at the 192ha Sitari Country Estate just outside Somerset West, with civil engineering works on the go, road boxes being cut and an old, unsafe dam being removed so that a 400-year-old wetland – the Klein Zeekoevlei ­– can be recreated.

The existing 19 ha dam that is 4.3 m deep is being pumped out. A permit was obtained from the Department of Nature Conservation to reduce the level of the dam and rehouse the fish at Meerendal Wine Farm.

John Coetzee, one of the executive directors of Uvest Property Group, which is developing Sitari Country Estate, says Sitari’s stormwater management plan is resolving a number of longstanding issues in the area.

“During construction it was found that a City of Cape Town water pipe had been leaking since 2008 in a 100mm to 150 mm deep stream of 2.5 m wide, and flowing onto the Sitari site. Culverts on the N2 had been closed to prevent the N2 from acting as a dam wall and to stop flooding the areas below it. There is also the Moddergatspruit, which is being upgraded. Our stormwater management plan addresses all of these water-related issues on site. Channels will be constructed to feed the recreated Klein Zeekoevlei wetland, after which excess water will flow off site into a stormwater system to the sea.”

Sitari has appointed urban designer Rudi Botha, who was responsible for the urban design of Schonenberg Estate in Somerset West. Coetzee says the 22 ha recreated Klein Zeekoevlei wetland and stormwater reserves at Sitari are about half the size of the whole of Schonenberg Estate.

He says the wetlands will attract birdlife and include walkways and boardwalks linking up from the country clubhouse, forming part of the 36 percent (71 ha) of Sitari Country Estate that comprises orchards, meadows, vineyards, parks and the 40 m wide green corridors.

The recreation of the Klein Zeekoevlei will be the second of two large wetlands within the City of Cape Town, the other being Paardevlei, also in Somerset West. Both wetlands can be seen on maps dating from the 1700s. Dr Bill Harding, who provided the wetlands study and recreation of the Klein Zeekoevlei, is creator of the Intaka Island constructed wetland environment at Century City, and will be overseeing remediation of the wetland at Sitari. His colleague, Linda Miller, has already completed the ‘search and rescue’ and is processing the plants and bulbs that will be reintroduced to the wetland.

“This is all part of the carefully considered landscaping for Sitari Country Estate, for which R60m has been budgeted including the Sitari wetland cost. R8.4m is being spent on the more than 14 500 trees required for the site. Just Trees in Wellington has established a dedicated Sitari Tree Nursery where the selected trees will be specially grown for the estate,” says Coetzee.

Country plots and luxury apartments in The Grand Olive and completed village homes at Sitari Country Estate were released for sale in 2014, and Coetzee says that properties are being sold at a average of one a day.

Construction of the main gatehouse will start in March and the first phase erven are expected to be transferred in June, with the first batch of completed Village Homes and apartments in The Grand Olive due to be transferred in late 2015. Estimated completion of the Curro School ready for pupil intake is set for January 2016.

Call Martin van Rooyen on 083 452 6909 or 087 890 0033, or view www.sitari.co.za.



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