Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 25th August 2008 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers

Present

Martin Thompson : COCT Roads & Stormwater (Chairman)
Virgil Jacobs : WFW
George Davis : SANBI 
Winston Coe : SANBI : WFR
Sharon. McCallum : ZVT (Secretary)
Gavin Lawson : ZVT
Cherry Giljam : ZVT/Friends of Park Island
Mark Arendse :COCT Nature Conservation – Zandvlei
Sebastian Osborne : COCT Nature Conservation – Zandvlei 
Suretha van Rooyen : COCT ERM
Leighan Mossop : SanParks TMNP
Jean Fillis : Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Louise Kinrade : Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Farrel Smith : COCT 
John Green :Wessa & Friends of Tokai Forest
Joan Hemming : Constantia POA
Liz Brunette : Constantia Hills Res. Ass
Lee Leith : Friends of Constantia Valley Green Belt
Don Rowand : FOCVGB 
Brian Ratcliffe : FOCVGB
Bill Scott : FOCVGB
Asanda Roji : COCT City Parks Muizenberg

Apologies

James Forsyth FOCVGB
Vincent Marincowitz ZVT

1. WELCOME/ APOLOGIES & ATTENDANCE REGISTER

Martin Thompson, as Chairman of the SRCF, welcomed all.

2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

Subject to noting that : -
a) Friends of Constantia is incorrect; and
b) Suretha’s email address was wrongly spelt;
the previous minutes were approved.

3. ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON AGENDA

No additional items were placed on agenda.

4. SOURCE TO SEA : PRESENTATION BY JOHN GREEN

John Green presented on creating or restoring a vegetative corridor from Elephants Eye or Princesskasteel to Princessvlei to ensure that we do not lose the last remaining pieces of biodiversity between the expanse of vineyards and the many developments taking place. This will involve working in small pockets in the different areas which fall into the proposed corridor. He informed us about the history or legends around the fascinating names. The intention is to restore or re-introduce as far as possible the original indigenous vegetation as aliens are removed. The various possible connecting points across roads and highways were noted. His dream is that if all stakeholders pull together this green corridor can become a reality. A power point presentation on the Source to Sea programme was also shown which highlighted the many threats (development, alien vegetation, roads across wetlands, vandalism etc) and opportunities of this exciting venture and which is complimentary to the vision of the green corridor as it is within the same catchment. He emphasized that it is important to view the system holistically and to be sustainable it would be necessary to find a balance between the natural, social and economic environments (like a three-legged potjie-pot). The presentation was followed by an interactive discussion. The many organizations that could partner the initiative were mentioned: the various Friends groups, residents’ associations, City of Cape Town.

It was stressed that the corridor project should also be viewed from the Diep River/Cape Flats side, namely Princessvlei to the mountain so that it is seen as inclusive of all the different areas of Cape Town.

John Green said that we need to decide who the key role players would be and how we could go about putting the dream into action. It was proposed that the key role players should form a sub-committee and employ the services of a co-ordinator. Money would need to be raised and he wondered whether any of the Friends groups would be in a position to assist. He offered a substantial start-off sum from himself and on behalf of Friends of Tokai Forest (FTF) and suggested that FTF could apply to COCT for a grant-in-aid. We should set up a group to take both projects forward.

Martin asked whether we should set up a meeting date and John asked how everybody felt about his ideas. A question raised was : who will run the first meeting of the steering committee? The City’s environmental department is extremely busy – needs to be someone from civil society – to ensure that City, Parks, Friends (including Kelvin Cochrane from the Bottom Road project) are included and aligned. James Forsythe was suggested – or George Davies of the Wetlands Forum.

Liz Brunette commented that it was important that it was not seen as an exclusionary project, e.g. confined to Constantia Valley and John assured her that he agreed that the concept should be viewed from the Cape Flats to the mountain as well. Liz also said that the structure plans for each of the 8 districts in the City were in the pipelines and these two projects should be incorporated at this stage, so that they are “locked in” for the future.

It was agreed that the first meeting would be held to form a steering committee to take forward the complimentary visions of Source to Sea and Princessvlei to Princesskasteel with a view to having a collaborative partnership which is able to find funding and move forward. John emphasized the need to keep things simple and not to over-complicate at this stage.

First meeting would be on Wednesday, 1 October 2008 @ 13h30 – Martin Thompson was going to book the venue and ask the secretary here to send out the invite. Brian Ratcliffe, John Green and James Forsyth will co-ordinate the first meeting and will organise the agenda and the chair for the meeting. Sharon offered to take the minutes.

5. FLOOD MANAGEMENT POLICY : PRESENTATION BY MARTIN THOMPSON

Martin took the meeting through the new draft FMP which has been prepared using the 2003 management guidelines with some changes. The policy has been introduced to Council, it is going through the Management Committee and he hopes for approval whereafter it will be put out for public comment. The rationale behind the policy is to accommodate the pressure from development, to avoid high flood risk areas, to protect the natural environment. It includes an aesthetic/character aspect so that a river and its surrounds are included in the urban fabric and has ecological, engineering and social components.

During the ensuing discussion, the following points were raised:

Liz Brunette asked Martin whether the City is considering offering “carrots” to developers who use more environmental friendly methods, e.g. permeable surfaces rather than hard. Martin responded that this is under discussion but there are legal issues which require some debate.Joan Hemming enquired about the degree of control that a Home Owners Association has over the residents in a complex in regard to the type of fertilizer that is used. Apparently COCT does regular spot checks but this is difficult to police. Cherry Giljam commented that this was another area where pamphlets may be useful – to advise home owners/residents of what should or shouldn’t be used – or what should be planted.
Cherry wondered who was going to police the new policy, and whether it applied to the informal housing areas.
Suretha advised that for all new developments an environmental plan has to be included which is monitored by the environment section to ensure compliance. This could be used as a tool when people buy in to a complex, as they commit to abiding by the rules of the complex.
Gavin informed the meeting that the EIA process has opportunity for the public to participate and make alternative suggestions to what has been proposed. The problem of the vineyards going higher and higher up the mountain was raised – where they are contouring for grapes and not for rivers, which may exacerbate flooding lower down. Once again, it was suggested that someone from the Wine Growers Association be invited to attend the SRCF meetings. It was suggested that Mr Lars Maack, a director and owner of Buitenverwachting, be invited in his capacity as the CEO of the Constantia Valley Wine Route. His contact details will be obtained and he will be invited.
Action: Sharon – his email address is : lars@buitenverwachting.com – Martin to invite him.

Winston Coe, the Provisional Co-ordinator for Working for Wetlands added that education is an important factor e.g. by utilizing wetlands for positive things, and reminded us of Sanbi’s educational section.

6. RIVER INSPECTIONS

Suretha handed out a report containing a schedule with details of the Prinskasteel river inspection and detailed descriptions of the sites inspected with pictures and a map depicting the areas inspected. She highlighted the salient points in each site inspection, namely Erf 3346 (Maths & Science Institute), Erf 3355 (Ford’s Farm), Erf CA 1464-0 and Erf 6851 (potential wetland). John Green mentioned, in relation to alien clearing on Erf 3346, that in terms of the CARA regulations, the Department of Agriculture had previously issued a directive to Province to clear the area from aliens and to remove the material dumped, but nothing had happened to date. It was questioned whether it is not a criminal act to dump and that a criminal charge should be laid. John Green responded that Wessa had tried in the past to lay a charge but the police are not interested.
In regard to item 3 (Erf 6851) – Liz Brunette drew attention that there are guidelines for use by the City officials and that there is a need for workshops to refresh the minds of those involved. She added that she would like the guideline document to be case specific.
Action: Martin & Suretha to investigate whether addenda for sensitive areas can be prepared.

27.8.2008 : Since the meeting Suretha advises the following:
Just to provide some feedback regarding the illegal dumping at the Maths & Science Institute:
Wazeer Essop is the case officer assigned to the case from the Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning.
You can send comments related to the case to him directly at:email: Wessop@pgwc.gov.za

Winston Coe stressed that it was important to be able to see the big picture and how we impact.
The next river walk/inspection will be Grootboskloof on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 9.30 am – to be co-ordinated by John Green and James Forsyth.
Action: Martin will send an email confirming and to advise where the meeting place will be. Suretha was complimented on the quality of the report that was circulated at the meeting.

7. GENERAL

Pamphlets
Living with Rivers: Martin handed out the pamphlet which Suretha has amended. Comments are requested by the end of October.
Farrell Smith will start working on a pamphlet dealing with wetlands. It was suggested that landscapers are often to blame for the environmental problems and that perhaps the Institute of Landscapers (if there is one) should be approached.
Action: Farrel will try and make contact with the Institute of Landscape Architects.

Friends Groups – Report back
A new Friends group – Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands – has been formed out of the Ratepayers Association. Recognising the fantastic asset in the community was one of the driving factors. 
They want to create pathways to stop degradation and their second meeting will be in the middle of September. They plan to link up with other groups.
Friends of Constantia Valley Green Belt reported that Lee Leith is preparing a map of the walks in the area which is getting bigger and bigger. This will be shared with SRCF in due course.
Historical documents – James Forsyth was not present. Liz will remind James to speak to Fabio (?)

Major developments
Gavin Lawson reported on the new EIA – BMD Textiles on De Waal Road, close to Mocca Road, which is adjacent to little Princessvlei.
The development at Porter Estate was mentioned and that it is important to keep an eye on what is happening there. The engineering design process is being started and the floodlines are being addressed. Gavin mentioned that he had recently had cause to read definitions, and “environmental buffer” was defined to be “32 metres from a wetland/river course”.
Next Agenda: The question of perennial springs being developed over because they are not marked/mapped. Are they protected?

8. NEXT MEETING

Monday 24th November 2008 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers


ZANDVLEI  ACTION COMMITTEE

To follow.......

                                                                                                                                           

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