Zandvlei Trust

A tribute to Geoff Bailey - September 2013.
(trying to remember the past,
with Gavin Lawson before our memories fail us).

Geoff grew up in Cape Town and he remembers going past Zandvlei by train as a schoolboy. He and his wife decided to move to the Westlake area when houses became available in 1985. One of their first considerations was "how can we give back seeing we are now living on a wetland". They both were attracted to the area because of the plant and birdlife diversity at Zandvlei.

With his professional background in chemistry and working at the then Department of Sea Fisheries, water quality was high on his interest list. Geoff began sampling water in the wetlands and the feeder rivers flowing into Zandvlei and analysing the results as it was impossible in those days, to get any thing from City officials, who regarded themselves as the professional fathers of the City.
The facts and figures at his disposal and with the knowledge of keeping his own records, Geoff joined the Muizenberg / Lakeside Ratepayers Association to get his concerns and his voice heard about what he was finding. He soon headed up the then Environmental section of the Ratepayers Association.

It became apparent and frustrating to him, when it came to natural environment few people were prepared to listen to the issues. Conversely he was not really interested in the local business community issues which tended to dominate proceedings. This was in 1988 when Joye Gibbs was Councillor and Chair of the Ratepayers Association, she influenced the business, historical and environmental groups to form proper associations to develop their interests.
So the False Bay Business Association, The Muizenberg Historical Society and Zandvlei Trust (ZVT) were formed. The Ratepayers could then continue as a civil society organisation.

See the minutes from the first meeting Chaired by Joye Gibbs.

He and Vincent Marincowitz started lobbying the City to form a Catchment Management Forum to try and negotiate access to the detailed water quality analysis reports.
Geoff had information which he wished to compare and share with the officials, as a concerned resident and scientist. Through their efforts the Sand River Catchment Forum was started. Their lobbying paid off with quality annual reference reports being produced by the City on the State of the Zandvlei Catchment. Vincent subsequently went on to the False Bay Advisory Committee when Kader Asmal was Minister of Water Affairs.

He chaired the ZVT for a number of years through the 90's, "we used to have our monthly meetings at Keith and Helen Erlangsen (link), Una Hartley's homes" he remembers. Vincent chaired the Zandvlei Trust in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Noel Ashton is also remembered as a Chairman of ZVT in the 1990's.

We had a wonderful fund raiser with the Barlycorn Music Club in the Mynardville, Wynberg in 1990.

Geoff managed to secure a donation from the Claremont Rotary for the recycling igloos based in Lakeside. Vincent had the base built with the City's formal approval. A number of local building contractors donated  equipment, labour and materials for the construction of the base.

The official opening ceronomy  of the igloo base in 2001.
l to r back - The Rotary Claremont representatives, Una Hartley,
Gavin Lawson.
l to r front Geoff Bailey and his youngest son and Clifford Dorse.

Geoff also motivated and started the interest of planting local indigenous plants with the help and expertise of Prof William Bond a ZVT member. An annual Arbour Day planting took place in the Wildwood Bird Sanctuary in 1989 with a number of plants from the then Parks and Forest dept. Some were also sourced and bought by ZVT and Cape Bird Club members. Many annual Arbour Day plantings took place along the Main Road section in Lakeside during the 1990's. This is when Shaun Privett a very knowledgable and experienced student and a Springbok Scout who advised and assisted with the planning of Arbour Days.

photograph supplied by Geoff Bailey.

Sean Privett, Brian Metcalf, Geoff Bailey and son Gareth in August 1996 on a ZVT
Arbour Day.
This photo was found (Sept 2005) and helps illustrate changes along the Main Road,
in Lakeside. They are surveying the damage caused by the C of CT tractor mowing
machines, opposite the Fire Station.

Arbour Day workers May 2001 from left; Geoff and Ross Bailey, Hugh Manning, Gavin Lawson,
Cherry Giljam, Una Hartley, John Martheze, Pat Coles, Clifford Dorse, John and Sandra Fowkes
were also there.

To show that we have not yet managed to address the litter issue at Zandvlei, a quote from the ZVT Newsletter article about the Earth Day activity on 22/04/1990 "members of the public have recently expressed their concern at the proliferation of litter along the tributaries and shoreline of Zandvlei" (Coastal Chatter October 1989, Cape Times 04/01/1990, Coastal Chatter April 1990, Cape Times 19/04/1990). In order to get the public invovled, ZVT ran a series of articles in the Cape Times - False Bay Review, aimed at encouraging public participation.

Many Cape Town people would know of the S.A. Agullus ship which went to the Antartic and the RSA islands. One of Geoffs responsibilities was to make sure the ship left port and supplied the South African Research Stations with all the many requirements. He also used to spend time at sea monitoring fish catches on trawlers off the southern African shores.

Geoff on a visit to Cape Town in June 2012.

Geoff and his family moved to New Zealand in the early 2000's. He still travels to Cape Town for business and family visits and is currently "semi retired" although working hard on dairy and sheep farms.

Gavin Lawson.


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