Rationale for a Nature Reserve
While investigating a solution to the issues listed above, it was found that the most feasible and attractive option would be to have this area proclaimed a Nature Reserve and managed by our own Management Authority.
This, however, may seem like a contradiction in terms. A Nature Reserve requires government proclamation, and government are certainly not following their own protection policies for the area right now, besides all the other general commitments that are not being honoured.
However, Nature Reserve status entails much clearer management criteria and ensures performance. In essence, Nature Reserve status is proclaimed as a result of a Management Agreement between Government and “our” Management Authority based on a few minimum performance criteria that include:
- Develop our Constitution for the protection and management of the Nature Reserve
- Appoint our Management Authority to implement to objectives of the Nature Reserve
- Establish house rules for the area. This ensures that we have legal recognition to eliminate unwanted activities.
- Provide fire and alien invasive management plans, which will be far better on a regional basis than what we are currently doing.
- Protect and conserve the natural environment, which we are doing anyway.
- Develop a Management Plan for the Nature Reserve.
- Provide proper access control. This is the key to effectively managing safety and security. Access Control is therefore a legal obligation and it is an offence to enter a Nature Reserve without permission. The Management Authority will have the “teeth” to implement control.
- Legitimise current land use, so long as it does not clearly undermine the principles of a Nature Reserve.
The above are all in our favour. We already have certain rules and obligations under the current laws that hold us to certain performance. The idea of the Nature Reserve is not to make things more difficult, it is specifically meant to make things far easier and pleasant.
Individual landowners will need to sign an agreement with the Management Authority enabling it to act on our behalf. Nature Reserve status will require us to consent to this land-use, and a Notarial Title stipulating only that the land is in a Nature Reserve and managed by our appointed management authority, will be attached to our Title Deeds.
As long as our Management Authority is doing what it is supposed to as described above, government cannot retract on the Nature Reserve status and cannot interfere with the land. If the Management Authority fails in its duty however, status will be revoked, and the area and individual Land Title will revert to its current state.
The Management Authority represents us through our Constitution, ensures our collective Autonomy, and has the legal standing to effect positive change. This approach circumvents individual landowners signing agreements with Government, and that is good for us!