Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 at 09:30 at SanParks, Cape Research Centre.

Present
M Thompson                           CoCT: CSRM                        (Chairman and Secretarty)
B Ratcliffe                               Constantia Valley Greenbelt
C Haskins                               CoCT: CSRM
Prof. Davies                             F of Die Oog
S Dorse                                  CoCt: ERM
G Lawson                               ZVT
J Green                                  WESSA
J Fillis                                    F of Kirstenhof Wetlands
L Brunette                              Councillor: Ward 62
J Forsyth                                FOCVG
M Robertson-Swift                   Urban Scapes
J Gericke                                CoCT
S Fowkes                               ZEMF

Apologies
Louise Kinrade,
Erica Hobbs,
James Rawlings,
Cllr East,
Mandy Noffke,
Lynn Jackson,
Melissa Tang.

As per the attendence register.

1. Welcome / Apologies & Attendance Register.
The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting (see list above) and handed out copies of the Agenda and Previous Minutes.

2. Approval of the previous Minutes.
Jean Fillis noted that her email address on page one was incorrect.

3. Action items from the last Minutes.
There were no action items from the previous minutes.

4. Additional items under General.
No General items were raised.

5. PENINSULA PADDLE REPORT BACK - Kevin Winter
Kevin commenced his presentation by indicating that the extent of the rainfall to date was actually a normal Cape winter, when comparing it with the previous records.He pointed out that the first Peninsula Paddle in 2010 had four participants while the latest event included twenty-five people who undertook the full journey, with others joining and leaving at different points along route. There were a number of interesting activities at Princess Vlei in the water and on the banks with information by various environmental and social groups.
The Peninsula Paddle is a clever idea, drawing the attention of a full spectrum of people together in a better understanding of the City’s waterways particularly when one considers the many divergent communities that the waterways traverse.

The message is that the health of a City can be seen in the health of its waterways.
Kevin noted that in 2011 there had been a huge water hyacinth problem on the Black River, but due to the work of Louise Stafford and a number of other City officials the Black River in 2012 could be paddled all the way out to sea.
The Peninsula Paddle draws attention to the health of our waterways and helps with the discourse in a fragmented City where different conversations emanate from different communities along the banks of our rivers. Recently two of the original paddle members, Kevin Winter and Alastair Lee received WESSA certificates of recognition for the roles they have played to highlight the issues related to the waterways in the City.

Kevin commented that the Black River was cleaner this year and the expenditure by Wastewater Treatment at the Athlone Wastewater Treatment Works had contributed to the improvement. He anticipated that next year’s event might be able to focus on some social issues which affect some of the City’s waterways and which the Peninsula Paddle observes on its route from False Bay to Table Bay.
The Chairman thanked Kevin for an extremely interesting presentation and enquired whether the educational institutions such as UCT, Stellenbosch and CPUT would be able to combine forces in promoting the integration of our waterways into the fabric of the City.
Cllr Brunette and John Green commented on the tourist potential for the City if the waterways were cleaned and well maintained.

6. ZANDVLEI
6.1 Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum - Lynn Jackson.
Lynn phoned prior to the meeting explaining that her car had broken down and would not be able to attend the meeting.

6.2 Recent Events and Possible Causes / Triggers – Candice Haskins.
Candice presented a number of slides summarising some research she had undertaken, to stimulate future discussion concerning the algal bloom and fish die-off that occurred in Zandvlei earlier this year.

Factors to be considered are the extent of the nutrient rich sediments in the Marina canals. Decomposition, the creation of an anoxic layer and the release of nutrients into the water column were presented and discussed.

The possibilities of a turnover or mixing of top and bottom water layers was presented, including some of the observable symptoms, such as murky water and a rotten egg smell. It was noted that the Marina canals are less wind affected than the main vlei with little flushing taking place and with a build-up of nutrients over many years.

Candice also mentioned that her research into Golden algae had revealed that the species is aggressive and resilient and is therefore able to outcompete other algal species. Aquatic plant harvesting in late summer may exacerbate oxygen depletion in the water column due to increased rates of decomposition of cut plants. She concluded with the comment that it is quite likely that the main body of the vlei and the Marina canals should have different management protocols due to the different conditions prevailing in these sections of Zandvlei.

7. BLUE ROUTE RIVER – Michelle Robertson-Swift
Michelle began by explaining that she is a Landscape Architect and would clearly be talking from that perspective. She indicated that for some time there had been a disjuncture between the planning profession and the environmental profession. However the only way to achieve the transformation of open spaces was to work together.

Michelle showed a number of slides dealing with the various types of open spaces and discussed the various issues that must be considered when planning natural, cultural and urban landscapes and referred to the very involved issue of public participation. She stated that each developed open space should have a theme to enhance public recognition of the area.

With regard to the Blue Route and the adjacent stream she showed slides depicting the possible future layout of the open space and its enhanced watercourse system and explained how this would be advantageous to both the shopping centre and the local community. The cinema foyer in the centre, which overlooks the open space, could include displays detailing how the watercourse fits in terms of the entire catchment and how an aquatic ecological system functions.

John Green requested that Michelle contact Mandy Noffke regarding the possible future upgrade of the open space and linking the upgrade with the Source to Sea project, and there was further discussion regarding species lists and the availability of acceptable plant material.

8. MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
Pollsmoor Pollution: Melissa Tang
Martin reported that Melissa had earlier sent her apologies but had indicated that she was struggling to meet with Mr Theunissen at Pollsmoor, who is in charge of contractual operations on site. Melissa needs to ensure that the refurbishment of the kitchens is undertaken in a manner that eliminates any pollution from entering the stormwater system. James indicated that he might be able to assist with making the connection between Mr Theunissen and Melissa. A suggestion was made to request the Health Department to become involved.
Action: Martin to provide Melissa with James’ contact details. Martin to request Malcolm Cupido of Environmental Health to assist with resolving the pollution issue.

Pollsmoor Aliens: James Forsyth
James explained that quite a lot of alien clearing had taken place on the Pollsmoor Prison grounds and that he had received extensive co-operation. He is presently negotiating with the prison authorities to clean the river bed which is heavily polluted with solid waste.

Lottery Money: Mandy Noffke
Mandy Noffke sent apologies. This item will be discussed at the next meeting.

9. GENERAL
Before the meeting closed a general discussion took place about the beginning of the Western Leopard Toad breeding cycle for the year which started this week in the Lakeside/Kirstenhof area.

10. Next Meeting.

The next meeting will be held on 20th November 2012 at 09:30 at the Cape Research Centre.

                                                                                                                                               

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