The Knysna Municipality is very proud to be the first municipality in South Africa to start the new generation Integrated Strategic Development Framework (ISDF).
What is the ISDF?
Things have changed significantly since the last time development planning was done for the greater Knysna. The global economic downturn and related social issues have resulted in a whole set of new challenges and it is time that the people of this municipality put their heads together to look for workable solutions that will fill the empty shops, get the industrial area humming again and create jobs for our people.
The municipality wants the ISDF to be a BIG PLAN that will shape the future of this town. We don’t want it to be just another document that is going to sit on a shelf somewhere – it is intended to be a living, working, realistic action plan, broken down into big and small projects, backed up by appropriate policies and implemented by all stakeholders. One of the main goals is to ensure that the new plans we put in place will bring new money into the municipal area and enable us to lighten the burden on our domestic and tourist sector ratepayers, at the same time as providing solutions to ongoing issues such as infrastructure and service standards, affordable housing and sustainable jobs. And, since we live in this beautiful place where nature is part of our daily lives and the economy, we have to do all this planning with the environment in mind – because let’s face it: the wonderful natural environment is one of the main reasons many of us stay here and most of our visitors come here!
Not just about buildings and roads
While infrastructure and services most certainly form the backbone of socio-economic growth, the greater Knysna municipal area needs new sources of income that are not dependent on a seasonal influx of visitors. We still want bigger and better ways to build on tourism, but we cannot be so heavily dependent on just one industry. There are some really big ideas out there – like tertiary education facilities, call centres, conferencing and the knowledge economy – and some are already being explored, but this is one of the key areas where the municipality needs your help.
So what about the IDP and all the other plans?
The Knysna Municipality plans and manages all its day to day activities through the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). This IDP, which is a legal requirement, is becoming more and more useful as it breaks down silos within the organisation, links the budget to performance management, and gives Ward Committees and the public the opportunity to play a crucial role in determining mostly short term priorities.
However, the IDP is a management tool focussed on a maximum of five years at a time and each year concentrates on the following year. It has no long-term strategic element to it that can set the future direction of the town. This is where the ISDF comes in.
While it may use information from the IDP, the ISDF will be incorporating much more. In addition to all the data they are collecting and people they are talking to, the ISDF service provider is also looking at past and present Plans and Frameworks and incorporating the relevant information into the ISDF to ensure continuity. The Integrated Human Settlement Plan, Spatial Development Framework, Environmental Plan and the Economic Development Strategy – each of which will be a component of the ISDF – will talk to each other as well as to the Infrastructure Master Plan, the Financial Plan and all the other strategic plans within the municipality. The intention is to ensure that the whole organisation is collectively working towards clearly stated and understood objectives that are also the goals of all residents and stakeholders. Information gained from other organisations, particularly studies by conservation bodies such as SANParks and the Knysna Basin Project, will also be fed into the ISDF. What we want to do is to incorporate all relevant planning by anybody in the area.
The money factor
No matter how spectacular the plan, if there is no money for implementing the projects, the exercise will be pointless. The municipality and its people have many needs and dreams, but at the moment the money pool is getting smaller. While the ISDF must show ways to diversify the economy and increase the rates base, there is no reason to look at the old ways of funding as the only way of getting things done. The municipality is already looking outside its borders for alternative funding and welcomes any constructive ideas on how to increase its financial base without putting further pressure on its ratepayers. Starting with identifying every possible source of government funding, looking for international funding, thinking about public-private partnerships; even looking at sponsors or corporate marketing opportunities, right down to fundraisers and community plans, the ISDF will consider all your ideas for backing these projects.
Become part of the solution
Our region has some of the best brains and experience around, and the municipality really wants to explore all the options there are. The community interaction phase of the ISDF started in September 2013 and will continue until November 2014. We ask that you get involved in the process as soon as possible so that your good ideas and input can become part of the process immediately.
If you have a great idea, write it on a piece of paper and post it into one of the ‘Idea’ boxes at a library near you. You can also send your ideas to the email addresses listed above.
Information sessions will be held at the Connection Café, which is situated in the Knysna Library. Pop in to find out when the next one is.
If you are registered, you will also be told about Workshop Cafés where different interest groups can brain storm ideas and solutions.
Road Cafés are road shows in which communities can participate in the process. If your organisation or association wants the ISDF to come to you, as long as you are in the Knysna municipal area, they can make a plan. Phone 044 382 6732 or email the above addresses to schedule a visit.
The service provider
The Knysna Municipality appointed Knysna Creative Heads Consortium (KCHC) via a legitimate tender process to drive the ISDF process. Comprising several professionals with a varied range of skills and a passion for Knysna, the KCHC team was selected for their in-depth understanding of the complex issues that influence life in the greater Knysna as well as their ability to think outside the box.
The Community Involvement phase of the ISDF is overseen by the Economic Development department of the municipality and the broader Framework by the Directorate Planning and Development. Contact Manager Economic Development Ilse van Schalkwyk on 044 302 1646 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Knysna Creative Heads can be contacted on 044 382 6732 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The information above is also available in brochure format. Click on this link: ISDF Explained Brochure September 2013 The size of this file is about 2MB.