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Montagu Mountain Reserve neglected

Montagu Mountain Reserve neglect

Destroyed section of path in Bad Kloof path after the August 2012 flood.

The Langeberg Municipality are neglecting the mountain reserve in Montagu.  Those who have been visiting Montagu over the years I am sure will agree.

About sevens months ago two members from the Montagu Mountain Advisory Board met with the Municipal Manager to discuss a management plan (first draft was in 2006) which has been ignored by the municipality despite constant communication regarding its existence.  In a meeting held at the beginning of the year, two representatives from the advisory board were told (by the Municipal Manager) that the Montagu Mountain Reserve was a “very low item on his list of priorities“.

As a previous member of the now dissolved Montagu Mountain Reserve Advisory Board it was disheartening to constantly provide input and then be ignored.  The term for the advisory board in fact ended in 2008 (this was brought up when the advisory board started making noise and knocking on doors).  The board was then told that it was in fact ‘illegitimate’ and that a new advisory board would need to be reconstituted (as per the rules and regulations).

Montagu Mountain Reserve entrance fee sign

New pricing structure to walk/climb in the Bad / Donker Kloof

Currently the municipality allocate R30’000 per year for the Montagu and Robertson reserves – most of this money goes towards the up keep of trails.

In the news article that was published in a local Gazette I’m quoted as saying that the reserve is important for tourism in Montagu and that it is estimated that climbers spend R64000 per month or R800000 per year in Montagu (you may remember the how much do you spend on a weekend thread).  This estimate is a conservative one and while certain areas of Montagu remain closed (Bosch Kloof and Lost World) the town will see a decrease in visiting climbers.

It is estimated the closure of these particular kloofs (mentioned above) is costing the town of Montagu in excess of a 1 Million Rand a year in lost revenue.

climbers would pump from R4 million-R5 million into the Clanwilliam economy this year

Another calculated estimate:   There is R1.4 million rands of ‘climbing routes’ invested in Montagu!  That’s a lot of time and money spent on opening climbing routes.  Bear in mind that not many new routes have been opened in Montagu during the last couple of years.

Montagu Mountain Reserve neglect

Semi-permanent structure put into Bad Kloof by the municipality

Almost every accommodation venue, tourist website/brochure boasts about the rock climbing in Montagu (interestingly: most accommodation owners will advise visitors not to walk through Bad Kloof because of its poor state).  It is important that Rock Climbing in Montagu is recognised by the town and municipality for the revenue that it generates for the entire area.  Look at Rocklands, by Clanwilliam they made the evening news!!

And the municipality definitely are aware of climbers in Montagu… a new sign at the entrance to Bad Kloof states that climbers must pay an extra two Rand for access to Bad Kloof!

The upside is that if the reserve was managed properly it could make enough money to sustain it’s upkeep.

3 Responses to Montagu Mountain Reserve neglected

  1. paddy Sep 9, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    As a route developer in the area it is sad to see the disregard of the time and effort that went into developing the climbing infrastructure in the area, especially when that investment could be to the benefit of the economy of the area.

    It seems to me that the Montagu municipality is generally missing the potential that the area offers for outdoor activities – beyond only climbing. The town is surrounded by mountains and has the potential to offer way more day hikes than the 2 on offer. I bet that a focused drive on developing day trails would yield between 10 and 20 trails. That would make Montagu a hiking mecca and would bring way more visitors to the town than climbing. It would also attract trail runners. I bet that more MTB trails could also be developed. Developing these would require the buy in of private land owners but imagine how busy the place would be if all the climbing, hiking and MTB potential was fully developed and supported.

    A great example of a town that understood the potential offered in its local area and went at developing it is Rotorua in NZ.

    The Montagu municipality (and I would venture the local land owners) does not seem to be in tune with the huge pick up in interest in outdoor activities and the economy generated by these activities. This is to the great detriment of the town. To borrow from a quote by the owner of Klein Pakhuys in the Cederberg – there is good money in farming rocks.

  2. Brenda Sep 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    What can we do to help, Justin?

  3. Justin Sep 18, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Hi Brenda,
    Thanks for asking. At the moment I can’t think of anything that climbers can do regarding this matter.

    The article in the local gazette was responded to by the Executive Mayor of the Langeberg Municipality, Cllr. Diana Gagiano.

    You can read her response here: http://www.bolandgazette.co.za/articles/articledetails.aspx?mode=news&id=34007

    It’s a step in the right direction, but I won’t be holding my breath until I see some action.

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