Environmental Considerations

In all aspects of the project, the developers were mindful of the environment. When the canals were mapped out on the site, it was found that certain trees were "in the way" of their intended positions and approximately 160 of these were saved and transplanted into the park areas. They comprised mainly Celtis and Olea species, as well as some Acacias which could not be transplanted due to their very long roots. Aloe species found on the site were also saved and replanted.From an ecological point of view, the developers have ensured that water in the canals functions independently from the adjacent Hartebeespoort Dam as the canals have been constructed above the dam's water level. The bi-directional lock system will be fully functional above the 80% level.

An artificial wetland has been created; this consists of a series of interconnecting dams with varying volumes of water acting as cleaning filters for the canals. Eventually, the wetland will be 60 - 70% covered with water-loving plants and reeds.

 

Landscaping

The development made provision for an eight hectare park to be created as a communal area. The vast park area adjoins a sports oval and terraced amphitheatre on one side and the remaining space comprises three dams with connecting streams through which water is circulated continuously. The berming and mounding is continued throughout the development to provide interest and variation to the previously flat site and to give it a more undulating appearance. All moundings were built from subsoil from the canals and topsoil provided the fill for them. Rocks found on the site’s canal areas were used for some of the berms. Pathways within the park area have been created as walking trails and between stands, ensuring that green belt expanses were retained.

Bristle Cone Nursery supplied most of the plant material for the project. Says developer Dries Pretorius: “We relied heavily on the advice of our landscaping experts and allowed them to guide us in the selection of plant material.” Van der Merwe specified the types of plants for the development, which is 70% exotic and 30% indigenous, due to the fact that indigenous material might not survive the cold winters of the area. Leafy material was chosen to tie in with the Balinese, resort-type theme, and mass planting was also carried out. Four different palm varieties were planted at The Islands, with Washingtonia robusta along the access roadway creating a strong impact on entering the estate. Other palms include Butia capitata, Syagrus romanyoffiana, Phoenix reclinata and Sabal palmetto. Some of the other trees include Celtis sinensis, C. Africana, Acacia sieberiana var woodii, A.karoo, A.xanthophloea, A.galpinii, Platanus acerifolia, Quercus palustris, Taxodium distichum, Rhus lancea, R.pendulina, Salix mucronata, Dombeya rotundifolia, Populus simonii, Olea europaea subsp. Africana and Peltophorum africanum. Formal water pond on Marine Drive with semi-circular seating wall A gently raised bridge crossing over the rivulet follows the shape of the mounds behind it.