Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 15th February 2010 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers

Present

Martin Thompson (chairman) :                 CCT - Catchment, Stormwater and Roads Management (CSRM)
Suretha Dorse                                        CCT - ERM
Steve Hayward :                                     CCT
Moses Petersen :                                   CCT - City Parks
Talcott Persent :                                     CCT -
CSRM
Marisa de Kock :                                    CCT - ZVNR
Darryl Colenbrander :                              CCT - ERMD 
Candice Haskins :                                  CCT - CSRM
Sharon McCallum (secretary minutes):     ZVT
Gavin Lawson :                                       ZVT
John Fowkes :                                        ZVT
Sandra Fowkes :                                    ZVT
Jean Fillis :                                            Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Janice Behr :                                         Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Valerie Morris :                                      Renaissance Solar
George Davis :                                       SANBI
John Green :                                          WESSA & Friends of Tokai Forest
Dennis Davey :                                       Friends of Die Oog
James Forsyth :                                     Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts
John Green :                                          WESSA & Friends of Tokai Forest
Mandy Noffke :                                      WESSA
Mark Day :                                            Western Leopard Toad Conservation Committee

 

Apologies

Liz Brunette :                                         Constantia Hills Res. Ass
Louise Kinrade :                                     Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Pauline Pearce :                                    Friends of Die Oog
Cassandra Sheasby :                             CCT - ZNR
Lars Maack:                                          CEO of the Constantia Valley Wine Route
Brian Ratcliffe :                                      FOCVGB

 

1. WELCOME / APOLOGIES & ATTENDANCE REGISTER
Martin Thompson, as Chairman, welcomed those present to the meeting and handed out copies of the agenda and previous minutes.

2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
Subject to :-

  • Friends of Kirstenbosch being corrected to Friends of Kirstenhof

  • George Davis being added to the list of those present at the meeting;

  • The last line of item 12.7 being amended to read that the SRC is likely to be appointed as the pilot area (per MN)

  • the minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

3. ACTION ITEMS FROM LAST MINUTES
Item 3 : MT circulated as required.

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 -
Action : MDK to ask Cassy to email Philippa Huntley to put on next agenda

4. ADDITIONAL ITEMS UNDER GENERAL
None

5. SQUATTERS / LAND INVASION - Stephen Hayward
SH advised certain broad parameters regarding vagrants and squatters and land invasions, depending on whether a structure has been erected.

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 :

  • 107 from a landline; and

  • 021 480 7700 from a mobile phone.

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;
And for Provincial land the City has authority to take action on Provincial land and to recover costs.

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
VM says that she has wanted to kayak in the Cape Town rivers for about ten years. This dream is in the process of becoming a reality and she has been astounded at the plight of the rivers that she has walked or kayaked so far.

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.
Her question to the Forum was : What next – what can we do to clean up the rivers of the City?

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
DC gave a presentation on the City’s Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment and Adaptation Options, dealing with the approximate 307 km of coastline around Cape Town. Using a computer model and multiple factors to understand the implications of climate change, the study has been able to quantify the risk of storm surge and permanent water increase. This has shown a 95% probability of 2.5 metre inundation in the next 25 years. The general scientific community agree that there will be a 70 cm sea level rise in the next 100 years.

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:

  • A focus on and protection of healthy and resilient dynamic natural systems - includes the rehabilitation of beaches and promotion of natural eco-systems to protect and manage wetlands better

  • Institutional capacity and skills development – a risk assessment tool has been created and different criteria are being investigated including developing a coastal management programme

  • Education and communication – to communicate City’s plans in order to create a well informed public and to empower organisations as well as individuals

  • Create a proposed Coastal Protection Zone using biodiversity and dynamic coastal processes as informants

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
MD began by emphasizing the threatened status of the WLT. Its habitat is limited to the foot of Africa and it prefers low altitudes – the current threats include development of golf courses, agriculture, motorists at night, declining vegetation, predation etc. These different threats affect the different stages of the WLT’s life cycle from eggs and tadpoles to toadlets, juveniles and adults.

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
MN summarized where the Source to Sea - River Corridor Restoration project has got to and gave a brief overview of what she has done in the last year. This has consisted of collecting and evaluating data and mapping the information obtained with a view to overcoming constraints. Existing pathways have been looked at - new pathways have been proposed focusing on riverine corridors where possible with some road linkages. There are some access issues - they have looked at heritage value - dog walking areas and areas where dogs cannot be walked.

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
MT introduced this subject and said that it has been suggested that the Forum look at each river system in the catchment and establish who will be the co-ordinator to look at various projects and what is needed in each system. This marries in with the Source to Sea Project and to Bryan Nicolson’s work some years go. John and Sandra Fowkes will be presenting on the Westlake wetlands as the first river system in this investigation.

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.

11. GENERAL
JF asked if there is an EIA for the new Westlake school. The access to the school is through a wetlands.

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.

                                                                                                                                    

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