Producers and farm employees are linked, inextricably. Producers cannot get their crops to the cellar and cannot operate their business without a significant number of employees. Employees cannot survive and reach a sustainable lifestyle of comfort if the producers suffer. It is the aim of Fairhills Village to provide economic sustainability for both.
With prosperity for the producer, comes job-security to the employee. With prosperity and security of tenure for the employee, so comes peace-of-mind and marketability for the producer. With the creation of the Fairhills Village, employees will be empowered by owning their own 45Ha piece of highly productive farmland. Simultaneously, producers will have much of their housing “released” and open for tourism infrastructure development.
With this, more tourists means more potential for the region, more SME opportunities becoming available, a more marketable region, wines becoming more sought-after and in the end, more prosperity for all Fairhills members, producers and the region as a whole.
A Village Introduction
This is an integrated rural-urban development. Using ±18Ha for the community services, and utilising the remaining ±27Ha as highly productive land, already planted, productive and irrigated. The site abuts the services needed for the community farming efforts, with Du Toitskloof Cellar, just to the west of the site. Located on the R101, the main artery between the National Road and Rawsonville, the village will have the ability to “catch” tourist traffic and will also be located within easy reach of transport routes and services available in Rawsonville and Worcester.
The village community will be integrated with a number of services. This development does not want to simply become a dormitory community for farm-workers, but rather a village with purpose, amenities,
opportunities and marketability in its own right. Fairhills Village will provide SME opportunities within a retail core; will provide community recreation areas and educational opportunities. It will provide land for
community agriculture, for niche agricultural produce and not to mention, for community wine-making initiatives. The urban design of the village will reflect the winelands aesthetic and create an attractive community the inhabitants can be proud of and a place, tourists, will want to visit.
The location of Fairhills Village and associated farmland is very important. The logistics of getting community agricultural products to place of processing needs to be easy; the logistics of getting to places of employment needs to be easy; the logistics of getting to existing towns for services needs to be easy. The location on Hercules, adjacent to Du Toitskloof Cellar, on the R101 (Old N1) to Rawsonville and Worcester and the proximity to all producers providing employment allows for these entire criterion to be fulfilled.
The ease of access to Du Toitskloof keeps transportation of goods costs to a bare minimum, practically being within walking distance. The access to their world-class facilities will allow the community to create world-class wines, should they so wish. This allows them access to a facility that already draws consumers and wine-tourists, allowing the community to tap into this market almost immediately.
It is paramount that the community does not feel isolated, but also does not feel they’re being moved off the lands they’ve felt connected to for generations. Many employees have a history of employment on their farms of origin over years and years. Thus, relocating families to remote sites is not advised for the healthy psyche of the community at large. Therefore, a location within a few kilometres of where they currently reside, in a rural atmosphere is important. Also, not neglecting the ease of access to Rawsonville and Worcester, where governmental, existing community and retail services are available. The location of Fairhills Village on the main artery of the R101 is therefore ideal. This keeps transport costs low, with Rawsonville within reach of non-motorised transport access.
This location keeps ease of access to existing employment possible, with many being within walking distance of current employment. This keeps transport costs for producers as well as the provided transport by Fairhills low. The location also keeps alternative places of employment, like Rawsonville, other cellars, other farms and even Paarl and Worcester, within easy reach; should members of the community wish to broaden their career horizons.
As previously stated, the village is to be a fully integrated community, with embedded opportunities available. It is envisioned that the village core be dedicated to retail and service activities. Retail buildings will be provided, with space to let available from the community trust, allowing entrepreneurs to start their own SME’s to service the community and passing tourist traffic. It is advisable that most space be taken up by those within the community, however, should the community trust want the outside services of a
retailer, the retail space should be let to them, but with the rent being ploughed back into the community trust.
Retail space, located within the heart of the community and directly off the R101, will catch passing traffic and service inhabitants of Fairhills Village.
It is envisioned that entrepreneurs within the community, open businesses i.e. a music store, a small restaurant or tea-room, coffee shop, internet café, a video shop, a wine boutique, a green-grocer and convenience store amongst others. As tourism potential grows, so will the retail opportunities and variety of tenants.
The Fairhills Craft Centre will be moved to the village, allowing arts and crafts opportunities to be taken advantage of. There will also be an informal market, where space for those not permanently letting retail space, is provided, allowing enterprising individuals to display and sell their wares.
Future development may entail the creation of a secondary industries precinct between the community and Du Toitskloof Cellar. This will allow the industrious to build businesses servicing the viticulture industry. This provides services for activities such as: mechanical repair services, vehicular servicing, packaging services, cork and label manufacture, fertiliser and chemical sales etc.
Following sound urban planning practices, all community areas and recreational facilities are embedded within the heart of Fairhills Village. The two village squares becoming the heart of the community, where families, children and couples can safely gather and enjoy what the village has to offer. All retail services, health, community and educational facilities are located along this central axis joining the north and south village squares.
The promenade will be well lit at night, and fully landscaped, to provide the ultimate in semi-rural aesthetics. There is a three pronged approach; one, to give the community as sense of pride and build a healthy environment; two, to attract visitors and encourage their spending, allowing for the community to take advantage of the tourism industry; three, to reduce energy consumption by landscaping intelligently, where buildings and occupants are shielded from the summer-sun and winter-sun is allowed to permeate through the bare deciduous branches.
The long promenade will provided a sense of space, so important to people accustomed to the space of rural life. With the community hall anchoring the south of the axis, and the transit station anchoring the north. With this, the community is kept connected to other towns; government services and employers are never too far away. Fairhills Association transport will continue to operate from this station, keeping the community serviced, connected and integrated with the outside world.
The community hall will be a multi-purpose venue, providing space for training seminars, classes, social events, religious gatherings and community meetings.
Sports fields will be provided, keeping community members not only healthy, but providing for leisure activities, sports tournaments and matches and giving the community a week-end pastime focal-point.
This is also paramount to the healthy development of the children within the community, keeping both the body and minds healthy and occupied with a constructive social activity.
With the cooperation of the Department Education, a preparatory and primary school will be built, keeping younger children close to their place of residence and providing future generations of the community with a sound educational base.
With the cooperation of the Department of Health, a small clinic will be built, keeping access to primary health care within easy reach of the community. Family planning will also be part-and-parcel to the clinic initiative, keeping teenage pregnancy to a minimum and building sound family units within Fairhills Village. The clinic should also provide services pertaining to the reduction of alcoholism and educating individuals in the dangers thereof, which is often a problem within winelands communities.
Along with the services provided of a more urban nature, so the rural needs of the community must be taken care of. Included within the community, a communal “food garden” will be incorporated, allowing the residents to grow their own food. This is an opportunity for the more elderly in the community to supplement the nutritional needs of the Fairhills Villagers and keep their days occupied and productive.
With staple food inflation at unacceptable levels, growing vegetables, fruit and cash-crops is of utmost importance, keeping more money in the pockets of members of the community and keeping child and adult nutrition at healthy levels, without breaking the bank of people who are traditionally not well-off.
Another field within the community will be provided for niche agricultural activity. An olive plantation is a viable option here, where not only is the community involved in their own farming activity, but that small industry, like olive oil making or gourmet olive sales can be positive spin-offs to this niche activity.
The surrounding 27Ha will be used primarily for viticulture, an activity community members are knowledgeable in. With all land belonging to the community trust, any harvest and subsequent wine-making and sales will be a community initiative and monies generated will be ploughed back into the community. In addition to the obvious positive aspects of a previously disadvantaged community being able to sell the products of their own labour and land, the marketability of the wines will be excellent, given that Du Toitskloof has a strong market-presence and that wines from an empowerment initiative have excellent ethical standing in selling to the local and overseas market.