Progress at Oude Molen

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On 1 – 2 December 2006, an historic stakeholder workshop took place at Oude Molen to develop a vision that will guide the detailed planning and designs for the future development of this remarkable 18 ha property (located between Pinelands and Observatory, Cape Town). This workshop took place in the same week that the Department of Transport and Public Works of the Western Cape Provincial Government signed the letters of appointment for the professional team that will work with the stakeholders to develop a final development plan and rezoning submission. The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Government would like the final development plan to be completed by October 2007.The Sustainability Institute (SI) was appointed in September 2005 to act as the overall strategic facilitator of two inter-related processes, namely: the re-establishment of normal governance on the site in light of the fact that it has been occupied over the past several years by a diverse group of legal and illegal tenants; and the management of a participatory planning process to develop Oude Molen as an EcoVillage on a large scale that would meet a wide range of residential and non-residential needs.

The 1-2 December workshop brought together a diverse set of stakeholders from within Oude Molen and from communities surrounding the property. Based on an extended walkabout, ideas were generated about the future of the property. A common theme was the need to see it as special due to its long cultural history, its role as a place of care for the mentally handicapped, and as a food basket for the pre-colonial and early colonial settlements. It was also a site where several windmills were situated to drive mills – one of the old millstones is still lying on the site. Out of this came several keywords that will guide future participatory planning processes, namely care, healing, feeding, sacredness, cultural crossroads and wind. The professional team contracted by the Provincial Government to develop the designs is coordinated by Cape Town architect Mokena Makeka. The professional team will get going in earnest in the new year with design options that will feed back into the stakeholder process.