What a wonderful place we live in! Gorgeous beaches, mountains, rivers, fynbos, forest and ocean – a natural wonderland with wonderful people, what more can we ask for? Plett has everything going for it and that is one of the reasons why Plett has been chosen as one of only five international Hope Spots in South Africa – an exciting global initiative that we can now be a part of. And the reality is, that we can be the best Hope Spot in the world not only because of the natural beauty that is Plett, but also because of the dynamic, innovative people that live here.
The Benefits to Plett
The establishment of this Hope Spot will support the proposed linkage of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area to the Robberg Marine Protected Area, but with a more inclusive approach where science, tourism, education and sustainable development and utilisation are possible. This will to some extent allow us as Plett locals to drive how we want our Bay managed, without seeing it pillaged from outside influences.
There are several clear benefits to having the Bitou coastline area declared as a Hope Spot. Not only will the area obtain international recognition and support as a valuable marine area critical to the health of the ocean, but it will also be promoted internationally as an area to visit for its beauty and uniqueness. This will significantly benefit tourism, business, and sustainable development.
Furthermore, on-going research and monitoring of our natural assets/resources are strongly encouraged by the initiative, and will be beneficial in promoting the area while ensuring sound management and informed decision making within the area. Together with this, Hope Spots are obligated to have set geographical boundaries that will further guide future planning, development and management.
The structure of a Hope Spot is such that public participation and support plays an integral part in all activities and decisions made which will greatly enhance the success of the initiative.
With Mission Blue endorsement and support, the fundraising capabilities for key existing and proposed projects will be strengthened. Mission Blue is a well-established and highly recognised international initiative that will give any project, whether it be educational, research, or conservation orientated, a major boost and therefore a better chance of succeeding.
Dr Sylvia Earle will launch the Plett Hope Spot in early December 2014, placing Plettenberg Bay on the international marine conservation map. Let us make this the greatest event of the year, a celebration of progress and unity.
A small local committee, working under the guidance of SST’s CEO Dr Tony Ribbink, has already been established, and is starting to plan the event. The committee is made up of representatives from various stakeholders in the community. A few fundraising events will take place throughout the year to enable us to make the December launch a fabulous and successful event.
If you would like to be part of this initiative by either donating your time or skills (logo designs, brochure printing, venues for fundraising, promotional video development etc.) or endorsing it, please contact Mark Brown.
Copy provided by Chrissie Cloete