On April 18, 2006 a number of parties with a keen interest in the environmental impact process accompanying the relocation of the Orpen Gate met at the gate to discuss the draft scoping report compiled by consultant Butch Rossouw.
Considerable debate ensued at the meeting, as not all parties were convinced that the proposed building of two gates is the optimal solution to the problems faced by Orpen. The current plan is to build two gates, one a minimal security control point about 7km from the current gate, and the second a fullscale entrance gate with associated tourist infrastructure immediately adjacent to the existing gate.
Initially only one gate with a filling station and tourist infrastructure was planned for the proposed location of the security control point.Some of the parties felt that the constraints to developing a single large gate 7km away from the existing Orpen Gate, as identified in the environmental impact assessment, could be removed if more money were available to the project.
Estimates of the necessary amount of money needed to do this come to about R10 million, but the gate relocation exercise currently has a budget of R1.2 million. Reasons given for Kruger acquiring and spending the extra money at this time included more benefits for the communities in the area, especially in the long-term, and an improved security aspect for private landowners who would have to gain access to their properties through the gate.
However, at the end of the meeting it was agreed to proceed with the two gate plan, and a second meeting ensued to help develop a security protocol for the small security control gate. The creation of this gate will allow fences to be removed between the Timbavati and the Manyeleti protected areas, and the speed limit to be reduced. This will minimise the number of animal deaths that occur along this stretch of road.
At the meeting, the issue of congestion at the current filling station at Orpen was discussed in more detail, especially regarding refuelling from tankers. This helped explain why there are plans to move the filling station a few hundred metres from its present location. The final scoping report should be handed in to the department of environmental affairs in early May.