Further to our article on clearing plots last week, Trevor Wright who offers  assistance to land owners, outlines some of the costs as well as charges owners will face if it is left to the municipality to clear an overgrown plot that is posing a fire risk.

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Is plot clearing ridiculously expensive?

“Definitely not if you’re the contractor doing the work” says Trevor.

“I’ve cleared plots, and I work with contractors clearing plots. It’s not work for sissies. It’s not money for jam.

Most of the approximately 400 overgrown vacant plots here in St Francis Bay are so thickly overgrown as to be impenetrable. Serious fire hazards. Cutting and moving this bush to the tip in Humansdorp could require 20 trips, that’s 20 x 40 km round trips. 800km @ R6 per km for the truck and trailer is already nearly R5000. A chain saw blade lasts about 2 days, they cost around R200 each. Then there’s labour, tools, equipment maintenance and replacement, insurance, UIF, servicing…Clearing a large overgrown plot takes a minimum of three days. If you have a chipper, you save the travelling costs, but a decent chipper that will do the job costs around half a million rand.

The Municipality has a plot clearing tariff. A thickly overgrown plot of 1000 square metres at the tariff is R25000. Then there’s the cost of removing the cuttings. And an administration fee. The contractors whom I have worked with come in below that price in most instances.

No. Prices are not ridiculous. They are reasonable. And the reputable contractors do a good job. They wont run away with a deposit, or do half a job, or cut down protected species, nor will they illegally dump the cuttings.

If you neglect to maintain your plot, as the bylaw requires, and you let it go for 5 or 10 years, the going rate is what you’ll have to pay.

Owners of overgrown plots poing a fire hazard need to consider the financial implications should a fire on their plot spread to and damage adjacent houses.
Don’t for a minute think that non- thatch roofed houses can’t burn to the ground. Some houses in our town have a vertical wall of vegetation five metres high right on their boundary! Don’t know how they sleep at night.

Don’t want to be a bearer of bad news, or a prophet of doom but the high winds and extremely high temperatures will soon be here, as they are every year, with the resultant fires cutting an unpredictable and unstoppable path of destruction in our town.”

Trevor offers a local bush clearing project management service that includes plot inspections, sourcing of quotations, overseeing and signing-off the work and liaison with the Fire Department. Contact Trevor on 076 589 0014.