Where it all began ...
The Sectional Title scheme came into existence in 2003 and chalet values began a steep escalation now that bonds became possible. Over the years following Sectional Title conversion some Utopians saw the nominal value of their units increase four-fold or more, with some approaching and even exceeding the million-rand mark. But the recession took its toll and property prices have fallen into line with the national trend. Owners rejected a proposal to electrify the whole scheme; in today’s money the infrastructure needed would have cost each and every Utopian around R30,000 whether they wanted electricity for their own chalet or not. Eskom supply is in any case often erratic in the region, and subject to cable theft.
In 2006 in a reaction against the notorious custom of Utopian business being conducted ‘behind closed doors’ and the abuses of power this enabled, the first decision of the new ‘enlightened’ board was that all business would henceforth be open and transparent, with minutes of board meetings freely published and distributed. This has been an article of faith ever since.
In 2007, reflecting the growing diversity of Utopian ownership, the Body Corporate (i.e. the owners) voted to conduct almost all its business in English, for practical and cost reasons. In 2008 the Body Corporate voted to end years of uncertainty and building anarchy by formalising a strict Building (and Occupation) Code to promote uniformity across the scheme. In 2009 the Body Corporate voted an end to the scheme’s nearly 40 years as a public resort, by opting for Utopia to be an entirely private scheme operated solely for the benefit and access of its owners and their guests (with a few noted exceptions). In 2010 the Body Corporate voted to normalise limited private chalet renting to outsiders.
Today Utopia is a private nature estate, with private sectional title ownership.
Meanwhile the surrounding area is undergoing a ‘green conversion’ as implementation of the long-sought UNESCO ‘Magaliesberg Biosphere’ designation looks increasingly likely. The area to the south of Utopia has been declared a protected area, and Utopia itself is in the so-called ‘buffer zone’ which imposes strict prohibitions on ‘inappropriate’ development.
Nearby Buffelspoort itself has launched a project to attract visitors to the area, most notably by erecting and manning a tourist information kiosk at the nearby Buffelspark shopping centre, and involving local leisure industry operators in contributing to publicity, maps, creating walking and driving routes etc.
- Courtesy of www.utopianatureresort.co.za