Amidst all the hard work that is being done by various individuals and organisations to help conserve our fauna and flora, news of the proposed storage facility (read dump) for used tyres in Tesselaarsdal is simply shocking.

Apart from the numerous ecological hazards that go along with such a facility, the mere presence of a dump site for black rubber waste will devastate the scenery of one of our last true villages. Imagine the scenes flashing on millions of television screens all over the world should the ABSA Cape Epic again make its way along this route in the Overberg. The ‘storage facility’ will be in direct line of sight of riders, spectators and television crews. An epic mistake, if ever there was one.

Should a repeat of the fires of earlier this year happen, the consequences will be felt throughout the region.

It is shameful for a government agency to award a contract to a company when both clearly have no comprehension of our region’s shared conservation ethos.

Should such a facility become a reality, the cost will be immense for the upgrading of infrastructure, such as tarred roads for huge dump trucks, without adding any economic value to the town. In fact, one can assume that it would lessen the attraction of Tesselaarsdal to visitors.

At a cost of R220 000 per month, which the taxpayers will pay the contractors, it must be expected that a more economically viable option nearer to a city will make much more sense.

This plan calls to mind the proposals by Eskom a decade ago to run power lines on huge pylons through the little town. This was in the time when Pearly Beach was still considered as an option to build a nuclear power plant.

With our region’s Blue Green Economy fuelling sustainable tourism and becoming increasingly important, we as a community must do everything in our power to help conserve our natural heritage. We must all be amateur park rangers, ambassadors for sustainable living, and examples of eco-tourists, for the sake of our future.

Our region needs to cling to its status as a forerunner in conservation and sustainability if we are to grow our local economies. For this to happen we cannot allow our region to become a rubbish dump.

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