SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM
Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 23rd February 2009 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers
Martin Thompson (Chairman)
COCT Roads & Stormwater
1. WELCOME/ APOLOGIES & ATTENDANCE REGISTER
Martin Thompson, as Chairman, welcomed all to the meeting and handed out copies of the agenda and previous minutes to those who wanted.
2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
The previous minutes were approved without corrections
3. ACTION ITEMS FROM LAST MINUTES
Item 5 (minutes 25.8.2008 re inviting Lars Maack, CEO of the Constantia Valley Wine Route to meeting) – Martin reported that he had tried to get
Mr Maack to attend but with no luck. Gavin had spoken to Mr Maack who advised that the wine farmers were having a meeting and would try and organize a representative to attend our meetings.
Item 11.4 (minutes 24.11.2008) – Martin said that no-one had approached his department for wetlands maps – if they are needed, they will be supplied. In regard to Erf 3355, Joan Heming said that the CVHOA had written to the developer saying that before the development proceeded, the POS and 100 year flood line had to be property clarified. She emphasized the need for developers to respect POS.
4. ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON AGENDA
a) Dennis Davey said that we should minute our sympathies to Candice Haskins in respect of the recent loss of her husband.
5. BIODIVERSITY & WINE INITIATIVE by Joan Isham
Joan introduced herself as the Extension Officer for the BWI, handed out some brochures and gave a brief overview of the BWI. The Cape Floral Kingdom is a biodiversity hotspot with 70% of the species being endemic with many under threat of extinction. It is also home to good wine with 90% of all SA wine production occurring within the region. In partnership, the BWI are implementing a number of key strategies, some being promotion of best practice biodiversity management, enlisting members and champions, extending conservation stewardship to the wine industry, extension work monitoring compliance with BWI regulations, research, empowerment and developing regional biodiversity wine routes.
Joan was complimented on the presentation and congratulated on the good work of BWI. Joan Heming asked if there was any plan to link the BWI work with the initiative to UNESCO for the declaration of the Cultural Landscape of the Cape Winelands as a World Heritage Site. Still in the planning stages, it is being driven out of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape Govt., Hannetjie du Preez, Chief Director of Cultural Affairs, being the driver. It is however being done on behalf of the National Department of Cultural Affairs. It is a serial nomination ( i.e will be a series of identified areas not necessarily joined together - Fabio Todeschini calls it an 'archipeligo') There are already six such World Heritage Sites in the old wine world and this, when it is completed will be the first in the new world of wine. The BWI initiative could bolster the nomination to UNESCO and vice versa. Joan Ishram said she would look into this.
The only wine farms in the Sand River catchment which are part of the BWI initiative at present are Groot Constantia and Steenberg. More reason to continue to strive to get someone from the wine growing area to attend our meetings.
6. INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES by Louise Stafford
Louise gave an impressive overview of what she does in regard to invasive alien species (IAS) – which include animals (Argentinian ant and black rat) and well as plants and weeds – both terrestrial and aquatic. The three impacts of IAS are –
The complexity of managing and controlling IAS in the City was emphasized. This is due to many factors, including lack of planning in the past, no records, contactor’s profiles – but it has become clear that they cannot continue as in the past. New objectives and strategies are being developed with emphasis on prevention, early detection and rapid response. However, before starting in any area, it is necessary to understand the extent of the problem and prioritise.
In 2009 there are four focus areas :
John Green said that Wessa (involving 25 friends groups) had undertaken a partnership with the City of Tshwani to take care of Metropolitan Open Spaces – and a similar project could be undertaken with Louise’s IAS initiative. City of CT should be encouraged to enter into co-operative partnerships to develop relations and to increase capacity building. John said he is pressing for such partnerships to be developed nationally.
One of the three guests from Heathfield (Shereen Isaacs) addressed the meeting on the state of the river flowing through their area. Much of the alien species had been removed but it grows back
very quickly. Candice Haskins had taken some water samples and there is a high level of e-coli. Louise said that Water Affairs had promised some herbicides which will be supplied to Friends
groups and City will also assist, as some herbicides can be dangerous. Ms Isaacs advised that they had approached Talcott Persent who had in turn said that he had asked sewerage department
to look at the overflows.
Cherry Giljam asked if there will be any training of the workers employed by the IAS initiative – apparently City cannot train people that are not employed by City. This is where partnerships and contractors can play a role.
7. BIODIVERSITY NETWORK by Clifford Dorse
Clifford’s presentation began with an overview of SA’s important position in relation to biodiversity with emphasis on the fact that CT is a biodiverse hotspot without parallel. Large areas of fynbos have been ground-truthed which improves on the previously used aerial photographs and categorised into high, medium and low/restorable. Importantly for CT is that there are 6 vegetation types found only here (ie they are endemic) and some of which are critically endangered. Those found in the Sand River catchment area include Peninsula Sandstone fynbos, Peninsula granite fynbos (home of the Silver Tree), Cape Flats Sand fynbos (critically endangered and very sensitive) and Cape Flats Dune Strandveld.
Of the 96 000 Ha of natural vegetation in the City, 47 500 Ha is conserved – but this figure is somewhat skewed by Table Mountain National Park. It is a challenge to embrace and conserve our wonderful natural heritage. The Biodiversity Network is a key informant in the City’s spatial planning process.
Joan Heming enquired whether there is a system in place in terms of which development proposals are evaluated in accordance with the Network. Richard and Suretha confirmed that this is indeed in place and that development proposals are circulated to Environmental Management Services and Biodiversity Management for comment prior to a final decision. Suretha advised that in terms of NEMA: Duty of Care (Section 28), the City can request an EIA although non-compliance is not a criminal offence. Joan Heming stressed that Friends and NGO’s should be given an opportunity to comment – she was advised this should be taken up with Keith Wiseman who is the strategic specialist at the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department.
Mandy asked Clifford if he could produce a map for the catchment depicting the different vegetation types and particularly the endemic component. Clifford says he will send a jpeg to Jeanette
8. NATIONAL PARKS (Upper Catchment Management) by Leighan Mossop
Leighan said that her talk will address the portion of TMNP that falls within the catchment area. Their management issues for this include a conversation development framework, alien clearing and vegetation restoration, footpaths and track maintenance to control erosion, fire management and fire breaks above urban areas, management of visitors and users, monitoring rainfall and endangered flora and also rivers for flow and with SASS.
Cherry asked whether there is any proposal to link the Park to the Cape Flats not necessarily following the river course. The MOSS system will be the anchor into the Park creating corridors where possible. John Green said that it was important to ensure that City and Parks link together to ensure that any transitional natural areas are not left isolated. This Forum is an important cog in that wheel.
9. MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS by Richard Walton
Richard had been invited to attend the meeting to give members an opportunity to bring up concerns about major developments, e.g. Porter Estates.
The area above the Barnyard Restaurant had recently been sold - Richard was asked if he knew what was happening about the development on that property, especially in relation to the wetland. The nursery had been excluded from the development proposal. Richard advised that there is no application with City currently, but that decisions are made under delegated authority or
recommendations given. Three wings fall under his department – environmental resource management, spatial planning and planning and building development. All future planning work is done
through spatial planning. He said he would try and get someone to talk to the Forum about spatial development – probably
Major developments will mean different things to different people. In this area there are currently no major developments but there is pressure from other developments, particularly those close to riverine areas. His department responds to what developers have decided they want to do. If there is an objection, then a report from both sides is requested and a committee will decide. In the majority of applications, a recommendation is made.
Concern was expressed that there is not sufficient attention given to development plans from an environmental point of view. Richard said that there is a new pilot project being run in the Central City district where they are looking at a very much more comprehensive application form/check list to be completed by developers/applicants in order to obtain a clear indication of potential impacts. The Catchment area (district H) will probably be the next district to be included in this project.
Martin said that there is no formal application to City in respect of Porter Estates and Firgrove. Joan Heming advised that her group were not getting feedback in regard to the process and do not know what the current position is.
Jean Fillis asked what was happening in respect of the development on Military Road adjacent to Steenberg Station. She was advised that there has been approval for 450 houses and the first phase is ready for building plans in conjunction with the housing branch.
Joan asked, as urban design is very important, if it was possible to get urban design guidelines into the spatial development framework, e.g. garages or 4m high walls being erected close to a scenic route. Richard replied that things take time and it would be difficult to include that level of detail in the framework at this stage.
10. SOURCE TO SEA by Mandy Knoffke
Mandy gave a brief update of where this project has got to. She handed out a map of the study area with the different key areas circled and with background information. She plans to hold four workshops to tackle the bigger issues and if there are still unanswered questions, smaller groups will be targets.
The object is to map the pathways and their use/activities – whether they are surfaced or unsurfaced – what we have and what we would like to have. She requested that everyone look at their
area on the map and advise her if there are any organizations that should be invited to the workshop.
A main area of concern at this stage is the dead bridge on the M3 which falls under the control of Public Works. Mandy asked who she could contact to deal with the right person – and invite
him/her to a meeting.
11.1 River Inspections
Suretha handed out Part 1 of the Grootbos River Inspection. James will send his report to Farrell.
The next river inspection will be the Spaansemacht Furrow – to be led by Brian Ratcliffe – and will take place on March 30th starting at 9.30 am.
11.2 Erf 3346 Dumping
Suretha advised that there had been no official response – she saw a small article in a local newspaper about removing the dumped material – but there was no mention of the dumped general
11.3 Friends Groups report backs
11.4 Filing of documents and presentations
As Gavin had left the meeting, it was agreed that this item should be placed on the agenda of the next meeting.
12. NEXT MEETING
Monday 25th May 2009 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers