Intaka Eco-Centre expands to meet high demand
Alan Liebenberg, Century City Environmental Manager (left) and Peter Stokes of DHK Architects (right) celebrate the nearly completed 'green' classroom on Intaka Island
A unique, multi-purpose wetland, Intaka Island is home to 231 species of indigenous plants, including 24 red data species, as well as 120 bird species, and has an internationally recognized heronry.
A multi-functional Environmental Education Centre was built in 2010 to enable it to fulfil its potential as an enviro-education destination. Able to accommodate groups of up to 75 at any one time,the initial facilities included an assembly area, educational activity centre, a reception and ablution facilities.
Eco-Centre Co-ordinator, Leandri van der Vyver, said the popularity of the Centre had exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations and demand was continuing to grow exponentially.
“In 2011, in our first year of operation, we hosted 13 321 visitors. In 2012 this grew to 19 387 and in the first six months of this year, we hosted 13 323 visitors against just over 8000 for the comparative period last year.”
The Centre was originally planned as a multi-purpose venue - to provide classroom facilities to host educational programmes and to provide facilities that can be let out to help cover the costs of the educational programmes so that the centre can become self-sustainable.
“The success of the educational programmes is tremendous but has resulted in less and less venue hire opportunities to cross subsidise the running costs of the centre which has necessitated the construction of a second classroom facility.”
She said that as with the original structure, the Intaka Island Environmental Trust, which has PBO status, has secured significant material sponsorships and all professionals had given of their time and services pro bono for the new classroom now under construction.
“We are also looking for corporate sponsor/s to help cover the hard cost of the development which are around R300 000.”
The new “green” classroom facility is being built out of energy efficient materials.