SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM
Minutes of meeting held on Monday 28th June 2011 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers.
As per the attendence register.
1. Welcome / Apologies & Attendance Register
2. Approval of the previous Minutes
3. Action items from the last Minutes
4. Additional items under
5. Pennisula Paddle 2011 - Kevin Winter
This, the second, Peninsula Paddle along Cape Town’s water ways took place on World Environment Day, 5th June 2011 starting at 7 am from Zandvlei and finishing at Milnerton Lagoon. This year included a number of different zones from the first paddle last year which meant that different people could join the paddle at different places along the route.
For more information see www.peninsulapaddle.wordpress.com
Another point was to get into the press to reach people that may believe that this is something worthwhile that they would like to get involved in. A number of stand-up paddlers caught the attention of the media which was great. The event also got onto National TV.
What they found that it is mostly bottles that clog our rivers - seldom plastic. A letter has been written to the Minister of Environment so that steps can be taken in terms of legislation to deal with bottles in rivers.
Different people and organizations did different activities in each zone e.g. Kim of Scenic South picked up litter in the zone in which she participated; at Princessvlei groups of learners were taught to paddle; Jungle Theatre put on some entertainment and WESSA and Educo were in attendance.
Some of the interesting points on the route included :
Martin Thompson asked where the project is going. Kevin’s response was to get more people involved – to encourage more participation from students and paddlers of colour from other clubs. There has been a suggestion to put cameras on the helmets of the paddlers so that their view of the waterways can be recorded.
Also, they are creating awareness of the pollution problems and bringing more publicity about where the pollution comes from.
John - asked whether the Sea Scouts had been approached to be involved and Kevin enthusiastically agreed to speak to them for next year.
6. Solid Waste - Claire McKinnon
Claire began with some background information and then said she would respond to questions.
Solid Waste (SW) is applicable to everything except the wheelie bin services which falls under a different department - it includes carcass removal, illegal dumping and a whole myriad of area clearing. The challenge has been to get the public to understand what the department does and what it does not do. A further challenge is what SW ends up in the water. SW Department picks up everything up to the edge of the water - once something is in the water, it falls under a different department - but there are grey areas. If a park is littered, Parks Department must clear and likewise, once in the water, it is out of SW’s budget. This approach is adhered to except in the informal settlements, where SW workers are issued with rakes and they use these to remove anything that they can reach. This also creates challenges as it is difficult to determine where boundaries end when it comes to rivers and canals.
Generally, cleaning is done as it is needed - no sweeping the street and ignoring the pavement. All is to be cleaned from one boundary to another. Unfortunately this same method cannot be followed in the waterways. SW will take out litter if it can be reached but beyond that, they cannot do.
In response to the question, where does the litter comes from, informal settlements are usually accused of being the major cause. However, every informal settlement received a weekly door to door collection service with free black bags and ongoing five day a week litter cleaning. In the settlements, it is mostly very clean. On the periphery however there is usually dumping from surrounding areas to avoid land fill costs.
A big problem is the formal areas with backyard dwellers which are often the cause of dumping. They get a wheelie bin but some landlords will not let their backyard dwellers use their bin; alternatively, they can use but must empty if it gets full before collection. This is when dumping in canals happens, or on an open piece of ground. Currently there is no solution to the estimated 42000 backyard dwellers and the City is endeavouring to be inventive in finding solutions.
Claire asked if there was anyone at the meeting from the Sewerage Department – she says there should be because a big problem is the lack of toilet facilities. Vagrants prefer to squat near a water way. They sometimes use containers and empty them into the water after use.
Litter is also a huge problem in the waterways. As backyard dwellers get better services and toilet facilities, there should be improvements. This sector needs electricity, refuse collection and toilet facilities. Martin Thompson said that there is a special group at City looking at backyarders.
Martin Thompson asked about illegal dumping. Claire said that this should be reported in different ways:
Some good news is that special operations, with a no tolerance approach, arrive unannounced in identified areas where there is high littering and dumping. The have authority to fine and will also check on businesses as there is legislation that every business has to have a contract for removal of waste.
James Forsyth commended Brent Diedricks – he quickly arranged 3 green bins near certain businesses, when requested to do so. Claire explained that green bins can only be placed where they can be serviced, which is why they can go near a business. They are still testing a new baboon-proof prototype of the green bin.
Claire’s telephone number is 021 4002822. She invited calls from anyone with problems or queries.
John Green left the meeting at this stage.
Reverting back to action item no. 9.1 and the question of mowing – Eugene of the Parks Department briefly spoke to the meeting. If anyone has problems with mowing, they should phone him on 021 701 1233/4. Jean Fillis has been liaising with him regarding mowing in the Kirstenhof Wetlands area with particular reference to Leopard Toad activity. The contractor has been advised to be particularly vigilant and Eugene will work closely with the contractor.
7. Climate Change - Barry Wood
Barry’s presentation focused on flood risk management – and the City’s management strategies in regard to climate change.
By way of introduction, he said that the many streams and constructed storm water systems as well as a number of storm water ponds need to be managed. Cape Town is a flat coastal city with high water tables with many wetlands and vleis and mild wet winters. There is a large rainfall variation between the mountain areas and the Cape Flats, where water doesn’t easily flow. Cape Town is also a fast growing city with 3.7 million residents, the majority of whom live on the Cape Flats, where there is vulnerability in terms of coping with disaster.
The City has an energy and climate change strategy and think tank looking at the high hazard areas for flooding in the informal settlement areas where water gets trapped; flood plains of water courses; retention ponds that can flood; low lying coastal areas.
The strategy plan is moving away from engineering the environment and focusing rather on engineering development which is founded on 4 pillars;
Communities need to understand that the City cannot protect them from major flooding and that they need also to help themselves.
Predicted impacts of climate change include:
Currently there is a lot of work being done on climate change science and cues are being taken from global circulation models and global climate patterns. However, the big question is how to localise or downscale these models. The results are often patchy. Different strategies are being investigated to predict future flood levels in respect of rain and sea level rising. What has been found is low correlation between big sea events and big rainfall events.
What is important is planning for the future. The City needs to allow for big changes i.e. how does the City control and manage development in the context of the possible changes.
Cassie asked about developments being permitted in the “wrong places” e.g. along Baden Powell Drive near Muizenberg. Barry responded that coastal zone management has not been properly considered, but flooding, whether from a river or from the sea, is still flooding.
8. Zandvlei Estuary Protocol - Candice Haskins / Cassandra Sheasby
Candice’s presentation and the document that will be submitted to DEADP will be annexed as separate documents for those who are interested.
An update on the Zandvlei Management Plan was presented by Cassie. A proposal was submitted to City which was approved with R100 000 towards implementation. Certain terms of reference had to be re-arranged. It is now in the implementation phase of trying to get the project off the ground and happening. The action plan was reprioritized and the MOU was signed about 10 days prior, with Pierre de Villiers of the Cape Estuaries Programme.
Phase 2 of the final implementation plan will be the same format that Lynn Jackson did with Rietvlei, i.e. getting all stakeholders involved to look at applying for some serious funding for some of the bigger projects. There will also be some effort to get buy in at National and Provincial level.
9. Friends Group Report Back
9.1. James Forsyth reported back on behalf of
Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelt and showed a number of slides of different areas where they had been working throughout the year, which included -
9.1.4. The Spaanschemat River trail has a problem with Spaanse riet growing rapidly up the river banks. Because of lack of maintenance a laterite path has become totally overgrown and the only effective way of eradicating this alien will be to dig it out mechanically.
9.1.5. Alphen Trail has been enhanced.
9.1.6. In Klaasenbosch, Parks donated trees and the planting funded by FOCVG; a few were lost because of the dry season and none of the rooi-els grew. There are now 96 Afromontane trees planted in the area which are looked after by Prof van der Merwe who has created two arboreta in the past.
9.2. With his other hat, James also reported back for
Friends of Tokai Park which included;
9.3. Jean Fillis report on Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands – which covers Westlake River and the greenbelt surrounding it stretching from the M3 to Main Road : -
9.4. Sharon McCallum summarised the activites of
Zandvlei Trust as follows;
9.5. Malcolm Pierce presented for
Friends of Die Oog;
10. Westlake River pollution - Melissa Tang
It has taken almost a year, but Steenberg Village Shopping Centre is greatly improved. There were collapsing pipes and leaking sewers, but are mostly now repaired. The car wash has a petrol-oil interceptor to monitor the process. Grease traps have been installed at Pick n Pay and also one at Mamma Mia restaurant. However, these improvements need to be monitored regularly.
The Westlake river sampling – 4 sets of samples have been taken since October 2010 at different points, the latest being a week ago, which has shown high e.coli counts. There needs to be some serious education on the Westlake Estate, which has the same problem as mentioned earlier with backyard dwelling and water discharged onto roads, as well as horses and goats.
Melissa and Talcott Persent and Martin will be looking at outlets from Pollsmoor as there is a need to keep a check on what is happening.
11. Next Meeting
Tuesday 4th October 2011 – at 13h30 in the Sturrock Room at the Alphen Council Chambers, Constantia.