SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM
Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 15th February 2010 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers
Martin Thompson (chairman) :
CCT - Catchment, Stormwater and Roads Management (CSRM)
Liz Brunette :
Constantia Hills Res. Ass
1. WELCOME / APOLOGIES & ATTENDANCE REGISTER
2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
3. ACTION ITEMS FROM LAST MINUTES
Item 7 - top of page 4 - MT did not register SRCF as an IAAP for Tokai Forest Picnic Area, but attended the meeting.
Item 10 - GD’s request that Cassy’s fish presentation be included in a Wetlands Forum meeting
4. ADDITIONAL ITEMS UNDER GENERAL
5. SQUATTERS / LAND INVASION -
If a structure has not been erected, persons occupying the land are considered vagrants and the number to telephone is : 021 596 1400
The vagrancy bye-laws have been scrapped as City cannot stop anybody from being on a piece of unfenced public land unless it is a park or a cemetary. However, if they are found to defecate, urinate, litter or create a public nuisance they can be fined by the Law Enforcement section of the City.
A new policing unit has been established under the Housing Directorate called the City Anti Land Invasion Unit – this is a 24 hour operation which covers all land within the City boundaries. Anybody who puts up a structure of any sort can be prevented from doing so in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Occupation Act no. 19 / 1998 – in terms of counter-spoliation.
In terms Section 26(3) of the Constitution, no-one may have their home demolished without a Court Order. The new Unit has been brought into being to try and take action before a “home” is established - this has meant there has been no loss of land by the City in the last year.
The number to call where there is a land invasion – NOT where there are 6 vagrants sleeping under a piece of plastic is :
If one sees a new structure going up - for non-emergencies - the number to phone is 021 9133347 during office hours.
JG asked what happens if there is vagrancy or land invasion on Sanparks land. SH advised that their call centre’s number is 086 110 6417;
Once a structure is occupied, things become more complicated – a long legal process to get the occupiers out and find alternative accommodation, and then to demolish the structure. It is difficult to define the term “home” as there is no fixed period stipulated, but the person/s has/have to be living in the structure for a while giving them legal status.
SH finished by advising that there are 450 000 people living in structures in Cape Town; that is about one third of the population of the City.
6. CAPE TOWN’S RIVERS - AN
APPRAISAL Valerie Morris
She showed a short video of her first kayaking trip on the river starting behind the Airport Industria passing through Lotus River and Hanover Park and exiting at the sea. Only after speaking to some people and doing this presentation has she realized that she and her co-kayaker were lucky not to get sick. There are extremely high levels of sewerage in some parts of the river - and also the waterways are polluted by the litter of the many people living along its bank.
Her focus has changed somewhat to a passion to try and clean up the waterways of Cape Town. Her kayak trip took her through 13 different communities of many different socio-economic sectors coming out into the sea between the garbage dump and the sewerage works.
She was advised that there is a government committee that has been formed and engineers appointed to clean up rivers. This was announced at the last Wetlands Forum meeting at Rondevlei by Councillor Basil Lee. CH said she would like to know more about the Government study and the engineers involved – and she will find out from Jo Barnes (who is part of the appointed consultancy team investigating river pollution) who VM can show her presentation at the City.
VM said that if she can get the government to investigate ways to stop sewerage getting into the storm water, then the communities can be approached to take an interest in portions of river in their area; corporates can be requested to help with funding - and a high profile event can be arranged to bring public awareness to the project and then to endeavour to encourage the local communities to take ownership and keep the river clean.
JG mentioned that VM’s project is complimentary to MN’s Source to Sea.
Valerie Morris’ contact details are : 021 701 9580 / 083 658 4858 – Renaissance Solar : Valerie@renaissancesolar.co.za
Action : MN will meet with VM to strategise as there could be overlaps with their projects.
George Davis left at 2.30 pm.
7. SEA LEVEL RISE – Darryl Colenbrander
The City aims to adapt well to climate change by making the right choices and learning from the past with decision making in the best interests of the broader community. There are four key pro-active approaches in place:
The choices we make now will determine our future.
JF : Is the presentation on the City’s website? The first four pages are. A request was made to include the visuals which are very powerful.
DD : What is the status of the Coastal Protection Zone? It is currently out for public participation and it is hoped that it will be soon be formally integrated. The Coastal Management Act requires that this is in place.
DD : Who will be responsible for implementation? There will be regulations controlling activities more stringently on the coastal edge – only low impact amenities will be allowed.
JG : In terms of the new National Environment Act, there should be no development within 1000 metres of the high water mark. DC responded that the limit is 1000 metres for rural areas and 100 metres in urban areas – but it is difficult to establish which land is rural and which is urban.
GL will take a copy of the presentation for the Forum’s archives and it will also be on ZVT’s website.
8. WESTERN LEOPARD TOAD - Mark Day
Conservation action has been by way of awareness drives, monitoring roads, observations and counts at breeding sites and identifying new breeding sites. The new Biodiversity Management Plan will be made final some time this year and the WLT will have an elevated status with conservation committees working with volunteer groups.
JF : Are there any biodiversity issues that can promote the protection of the WLT? They are part of the eco-system in which each component of the food chain is essential. The WLT eats an array of insects which may be considered as pests – and is threatened as food in various stages of its life.
DD : There were no toadlets at De Oog this last breeding season. Kirstenhof had an emergence in mid-January. Generally accepted that there was very poor breeding during the last season.
CH : There may well be cycles of successful breeding one year and less the following year – may be part of a normal pattern.
JF : Candice, would you say the WLT is an indicator of water health. CH : Frogs are generally considered indicator species indicating water health, but they are fairy resilient. If there is particularly nasty pollution this could cause them problems.
Concern was expressed about the mowing of lawns on public spaces during the periods that WLTs migrate. There apparently is an MOU between the different departments to ensure that this is carefully monitored. A suggestion was made that a leaflet be prepared and handed to the different out-sourced contractors to ensure that they are fully appraised of the dangers to local fauna. Suretha has created such an information leaflet.
JF : Can a one page leaflet be made and handed to contractors, e.g. drain cleaners? TP suggested that JF telephone him if he sees contractors in sensitive areas in the future.
9. SOURCE TO SEA – Mandy Noffke
There is an action plan and implementation has been talked about. There is a control map and lots of people on the ground with many existing projects – so there are many partners.
However, a detailed business plan is still needed as well as funding to enable action on the ground.
An effective workshop was held on 18th January covering four different groups and areas.
MN’s next step is a funding proposal to the Lotteries which is part of Wessa’s consolidated funding application. A proposal for alien clearing has been put together for Lotteries funding of R700 000.00. This proposal does not address the other issues in the project that will need funding. There is some money left from previous Lotteries funding and she was given 21 days to spend R451 000.00. Ten projects were sourced which allocated inter alia R64 000,00 to Ward 71 plus R24 000.00 for ZVT / Neil Major’s project planting indigenous plants at Bokmakierie Park.
An application will also be made to the Pedal Power Association for R400 00.00 for a defined cycle pathway.
So, the project is happening - but in small bites. A lot has been achieved so far.
10. RIVER ISSUES
JF and SF presented proposals for reducing silt and nutrient loads in the Keyser’s and Westlake Rivers - a hard copy of their presentation will be attached to these minutes. In summary they have come to know these rivers since 1985 when they were relatively deep, fully navigable and clear of invasive weeds. This has changed substantially over the years as will be seen from the report, with the arrival of invasive alien plants and various counter-actions including the hardening of the rivers banks which brought further changes to the water bodies. They suggest a possible solution to the problem being to lay conduits and channels and holding ponds created in reed beds. It is also proposed that the flow of the rivers be slowed by diverting them into the extensive reed beds of the wetlands where both silt and nutrients can be removed before the water returns to the main water body of the Zandvlei.
MN suggested that a further small meeting be set up to workshop different ideas as to the best way to remedy the problem. Friends of Kirstenhof should be included as it falls within their area.
JG asked whether this is the appropriate place to manage this river system when there is little control over what is happening in the upper part of the catchment which is probably the cause of the lower problems in these rivers.
Meeting set for 15th March 2010 at 13h30 at WESSA offices.
Action : MN will contact Leigh-Ann Mossop to find out who from Sanparks can be included. Cassy Sheasby will also be invited.
MT displayed a 1951 map of the Sand River which shows that the Diep River (which later becomes the Sand) did not flow into Princessvlei at all.
12. NEXT MEETING
Monday, 17th May 2010 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers.