Alan Liebenberg: Saying bon voyage to a Century City legend

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Date 30 January 2020
Author Tatum Sieni
Contact Name Natalie Du Preez
Contact Email info@centurycity.co.za
Contact Telephone +27 21 552 6889
URL Century City

“Goodbyes make you think. They make you realise what you’ve had, what you’ve lost, and what you’ve taken for granted.” – Ritu Ghatourey

When Alan Liebenberg joined Century City in 2005 as Environmental Manager, it was still in the very early stages of its development.  As Century City grew in development size, Alan played a significant role in the overall fauna and flora of the precinct.

Amongst many firsts, Alan contributed substantially to the establishment of Intaka Island – the only wetland remaining of what once was seven.  Alan’s initial focus was the propagation and planting of plants from the onsite nursery, formalising the paths on the island, constructing a second bird hide and engaging with Blouvlei Environmental Committee, with whom he developed a very good relationship over the years.

When the development of Century City began in 1996, the 250 hectare site was largely covered by invasive alien vegetation and a number of degraded wetlands. Many water birds used these wetlands and the surrounding flooded vegetation as breeding sites.

In the environmental impact assessment (EIA) which preceded development, it was recommended that a multi-purpose nature reserve be created in the centre of Century City. The Century City property developer decided to do this, both as a contribution to conservation and to create an attractive and functional wetland for the Century City environment. Intaka Island is the result and it represents a uniquely successful union of conservation and property development.

Intaka Island received Voluntary Conservation Status from Cape Nature in October 2006 and the construction of the Environmental Education Centre was completed in 2010.

Alan not only focused on Intaka Island but was also responsible for the management and upkeep of the seven and a half kilometers of canals and the landscaping of the common areas in Century City.  He introduced the aquatic weed harvester for the canals and initiated successful recycling programmes.  

However, the talents of a man such as Alan extends beyond plants and animals!  He played a significant role in establishment and growth of the Century City canoeing and running clubs as well as the touch rugby league.  He has also been a key figure in the steering the Century City annual Sports Festival to the amazing event it has become.  Thousands of runners and other athletes turn out over the first weekend of March (this year held on 28 February to 1 March).  The festival includes eight sports codes with the signature event being the highly-rated Century City 10km Express road race with Discovery Vitality.

“Saying goodbye to goodbye to someone after 15 years is tough enough, but seeing such a valuable member of our team leave, someone who has made such a profound impact, is exceptionally difficult” says Chris Blackshaw, CEO of Century City Property Owners’ Association (CCPOA).  “Alan’s passion for the natural environment coupled with his dedication and all-encompassing approach speaks of a singular individual.  From implementing broad-stroke strategies to ensuring that the smallest detail is thought of, his dedication to the broader Century City community – both human and nature – will have an enduring impact.”

Alan is leaving Century City with a heavy heart; however, his new life chapter is a joyous one as he will be joining his children and grandchildren in the UK.