West Coast Environmental Cooperative

West Coast Environmental Cooperative

The West Coast Environmental Cooperative

The vision of the Co-operative is to contribute to the integrated development of poor communities through facilitating income-generating environmental projects at local level that are driven by local communities.

The vision has economic, environmental and social objectives.

Economic objectives
  • To turn degraded and alien infested veld on publicly owned and state land into pristine natural veld to generate income for local communities.
  • To enhance the tourism potential of the area by bringing back the natural vegetation and ensuring unspoiled scenery for tourists visiting the area.
  • To provide other environment-related services.
Environmental objectives
  • To enhance the aesthetic of the local environment.
  • To maintain or increase the permeable area available for the infiltration of storm water runoff.
  • To remove aliens and replace them with indigenous Coastal Fynbos.
Social objectives
  • To provide local recreational amenities contributing to environmental awareness within the local community.
  • To facilitate the establishment of a positive working relationship between local communities and the local government.
  • To provide community development through capacity building of local organisations.

Alien clearing

The primary objective of the Co-operative is to clear the entire West Coast and secondary areas of invasive exotic plants to infestation levels of less than 0.1% within the next 20 years. This will ensure optimum sustainable water supply and indigenous Coastal Fynbos growth.

Who is involved?

Members registered as unemployed individuals or SMMEs registered as contractors.

Arts & Crafts

The invasive alien plants that are mostly worked with are acacias, which are the dominant species in the West Coast region. A lot of the wood from these trees is sold as firewood, especially Rooikrans and Port Jackson. Some branches of these trees are suitable for the carving of ornaments and other items that can be sold as craft to the local tourism market. Environmental education.

The idea behind the Adopt-a-Beach Programme is to encourage groups of people to adopt or help look after a piece of coast in their region and link with others as part of a national project. Adopt-a-Beach is part of the overall Coastcare programme and contributes towards the implementation of the “awareness, education and training” goals of the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa. It does this by providing the opportunity for participants to better develop an understanding of the coastal environment and relevant management principles. This will help ensure that there are more responsible coastal users and better overall coastal management.

Who is involved?

All the local schools in the area.

Harvesting of thatch reeds

Harvesting of Olifants Riet takes place annually. This provides jobs for about 30 women annually and they harvest approximately 60-80 000 bundles.

Training

A primary goal of the Co-operative is to give extensive training and capacity building to its members.