Saturday, 23 July 2011

They laughed when we bought a sugar farm in Ballito.

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The Irish satirist Jonathan Swift once commented that "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible" Over the years many great things have been built as a result of man's vision. Imagine standing and looking over seventy-seven hectares of sugar cane. What would you see? Most of us would see sugar. Not Ed Peen and Paul Izzard. Five years ago they looked out over a sugar cane farm just north of Ballito, and saw the biggest industrial development node outside of the Durban International Airport. They saw in their bold vision, a superb, environmentally friendly industrial park that would be the best in the country. They also saw the future of the area and the development that was to come. And they believed in their vision.
And so, the Imbonini Industrial Park was born. Paul Izzard, Director of Amber Dawn Developments, speaks passionately of those early visions, "Despite the fact that the new airport was far from certain, we saw this perfectly positioned space, adjacent to an existing park and with easy accessibility to the N2. We knew that if we built a unique park of the highest standard it could only be a winner, and then when the Airport became a reality it was an added bonus. The work force at the nearby Shakas Head township provides not only easy access to labour but also job creation for this community."

The Chairman of Amber Dawn Developments, Ed Peen, himself an ardent environmentalist joined in, "Our vision was to build the best industrial park in the country and we left no stone unturned in our efforts to achieve this. We only build developments that we can be proud of so we took no shortcuts, employing only the finest professionals in the game, from construction and civils through to electrical and water installations. We have also stuck steadfastly to our vision of creating an environment that would make the park one of a kind." To illustrate this Ed points out that forty-five percent of the land has been rehabilitated into a conservation area allowing for wide open spaces between buildings resulting in lots of green. "We are very excited to see abundant bird-life returning to this once sterile sugar farm. Natural wetlands had been ploughed under by sugar and this has had to be rehabilitated. Over 600 indigenous trees such as Acacia Thorn have been planted and the grasslands have been reseeded with natural grasslands."

To maintain the natural feel of this park a set of architectural guidelines has been set keeping builders in line. The tenants have clearly bought into this ethos with the utilization of state-of-the art geothermal technology being installed at the Afrocon built, Nutricheese Factory in the park. This technology involves the installation of underground water pipes using the earths natural cooling to drive the refrigeration facility resulting in massive energy savings.

It took a great deal of belief in their vision to produce this masterpiece, and as if to underline this belief Ed and Paul have invested in their own complex of mini- factories on site. Acacia Park offers 10000 m2 of mini-factory space ranging in size from 290 to 530m2.

Paul and Ed conclude that whilst it has been a long and testing road, the rewards in seeing their vision, Imbonini Park, come to reality have indeed made it worth it. With the long awaited and successful launch of the new King Shaka International airport at the beginning of May, it is clear that the development in the area is set to explode exponentially.

Says Ed with a smile "They laughed when we bought a sugar farm in Ballito. But then we started to build"

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Published in Energy and Environment