Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 29th March 2011 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers.

Present
Martin Thompson:           CCT Roads & Stormwater    (Chairman)
Candice Haskins:            CCT CSRM                        (Minutes Secretary)
Jean Fillis:                      Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
John Green:                    WESSA & Friends of Tokai Forest
James Forsyth:               FCVGB
Mandy Noffke:                 Wetland Solutions              (Minutes Secretary)
Gavin Lawson:                 ZVT                                  (Minutes Secretary)
Brian Ratcliffe:                 FOCVGB
Pauline Pearce:               FO Die Oog
Sandra Hollerman:           SANParks
Suretha Dorse:                CCT  ERM
Richard Walton:              CCT Planning

Apologies
Louise Kinrade :              Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Sharon McCallum:           ZVT                                 
Dennis Davey:                 Friends of Die Oog
John Fowkes:                  ZVT

As per the attendence register.

1. Welcome / Apologies & Attendance Register
The Chairman, Martin Thompson, welcomed those present to the meeting and handed out copies of the agenda and previous minutes. Apologies were recorded.

2. Approval of the previous Minutes
There were no changes made to the minutes of the last meeting.

1 point of clarity was raised by JG - one cannot get a permit to eradicate baboons within the Cape Peninsula as they are protected. The comment reflected in the minutes only refers to other areas in the country where they can be labeled problem animals.

3. Action items from the last Minutes

Martin has spoken to Peter Reynolds regarding the management of stormwater at Buitenverwachting. The possibility of undertaking a joint project with Uitsig is still to be followed-up. BWI & DWA will be contacted with respect to taking such a project forward.

Litter issue at Zandvlei - solid waste was asked to speak at today’s meeting, but they were not present. MT to follow-up with them again.

 

4. Source-to-Sea Implementation Strategy Development: an update by Mandy Noffke.

Presentation Summary:

The presentation aimed to bring the meeting up to date with the progress of the development of an implementation strategy for Source-to-Sea. Mandy reported that contract with TMF for funding of the process to the tune of R83 000 had been signed.

Vision Statement
The vision of the Sand River Catchment Management Plan is entirely applicable to StS and the first workshop agreed to adopt the current vision statement, as it supported the broad vision of riparian restoration for people and nature, i.e. it supports both the ecological & social aims of the project.

“The Catchment Management Plan must ensure acceptable water quality and manage water quantity so as to support maximum biodiversity and optimize utilization of river corridors for the sustained benefit of all users”.

Catchment Stakeholders:
Mandy outlined by way of a flow diagram, the myriad of diverse stakeholders in the catchment and stated that one of the challenges of the project would be to get all of these diverse groups to be able to agree and focus on a common vision. The stakeholders could be grouped together as follows:

  • Landowners / Institutions – this group has the largest on-the-ground footprint

  • Projects / Implementers – many are grouped around SANParks & the Tokai area. The bigger group includes the Working for Wetlands projects, MTO, PPA input into cycling activities, EDRR and invasive species management.

  • Friends Group network – this group is affiliated in one way or another to WESSA.

  • Civil Society – Residents – this group is largely unaffiliated & included Ratepayers Associations, Neighbourhood Watch’s, Community Police forum and individual residents.

  • Other User Groups – these include equestrians, dog walkers, schools etc.

  • Agriculture / Estate – include the wine farms, golf courses & residential estates. A node could be developed around the wine farms if BWI or the FPA’s were to become involved.

  • Business / Industry – this last group is scattered around the catchment but clustered in the Retreat Industrial area & along Main Road.

Phase 1: Implementation Strategy Development - Catchment Prioritisation

  • This phase involves holding a workshop to identify boundaries, prioritise & identify key actions to be undertaken in each sub-catchment area within the Sand River catchment.

  • A workshop was held on 14 February with major institutional stakeholders & ecological specialists.

  • Broad biodiversity (aquatic & terrestrial) & recreational (Princess’s Trails) criteria were used to determine the importance of each sub-catchment. The results are tabled in brief below.

  • Aquatic & Terrestrial ratings were interpreted from the City’s GIS information, while the social statistics came from existing & proposed pathways mapped as part of the Princess’s Trail project (The trail information is NOT comprehensive but does provide some method of quantifying social importance)

  • The overall importance ratings were the combined value of the Aquatic / Terrestrial / Social ratings. Aquatic importance was more heavily weighted, while the social layer the least.

  • The workshop agreed that as Zandvlei is the most important sub-catchment, receives all the impacts from upstream & has a comprehensive management plan in place - the StS Implementation Plan would concentrate on the other sub-catchments that feed Zandvlei. All data collected throughout the project would be evaluated in respect of it’s affect (positive or negative) on Zandvlei as the receiving environment.

Importance Ratings of Sub-Catchments:

No Aquatic Biodiversity No Terrestrial Biodiversity
1   Zandvlei   (wetland area, CBAs)  1   Prinskasteel   (CBAs & protected areas
2   Keysers   (CBAs, CESA, OESA - WLT) 2   Zandvlei   (CBAs & protected areas)
3   Princessvlei   (CBA2, CESA & OESA - WLT) 3   Grootboskloof   (Prot Areas upper catchment)
4   Lower Diep   (CESA & OESA)  4   Upper Diep   (some CBAs, natural areas & Prot areas)
5   Prinseskateeel   (CBA in upper catchment)  5   Prinseskasteel   (some Protected areas)
-
No Social Value  No Overall Rating
1   Prinskasteel   (Extensive pathways)  1   Zandvlei
2   Upper Diep   (Greenbelt system) 2   Prinskasteel
3   Grootboskloof   (Greenbelt system)  3   Upper Diep
4   Zandvlei   (extensive use) 4   Grootboskloof
5   Prinseskasteel   (potential paths)  5   Keysers River

Abbreviations: CBAs (Critical Biodiversity Areas), CESA (Critical Ecological Support Areas), OESA (Other Ecological Support Areas), WLT (Western Leopard Toad Habitat)

Phase 2: Implementation Strategy Development – Sub-Catchment Objectives
This phase will be undertaken towards the end of the year & will involve holding a series of workshops with operational managers in each sub-catchment. The workshops will aim to:

  • Revisit the broad vision & priorities for each sub-catchment in Phase 1

  • Set detailed targets for management areas within the sub-catchments

  • Determine resource needs, challenges & actions required in order to meet the targets

Phase 3: Implementation Strategy Development
This last phase is presently unfunded & will probably be completed early next year, subject to funding being sourced. The final phase will include:

  • Defining roles & responsibilities of the various stakeholders.

  • Providing broad implementation targets & timeframes.

  • Outlining a detailed monitoring & evaluation framework & it is hoped that much of the responsibility for overseeing this process will be taken up by the SRCF.

  • Formalising an implementation structure that will provide institutional arrangements via an MOA or similar, that will guarantee commitment of resources to the implementation of StS.

Questions:
A general discussion took place, and all congratulated Mandy for the work she has done.

To read more see the linked file on;
http://zandvleitrust.org.za/pdf/zvt-sts%20strategy%20development%20march%202011.pdf 

 

5. Planning Process - Richard Walton, District Manager of Southern District (Mowbray to Cape Point)

Presentation Summary:

Richard gave a brief outline of the 3 components of the development process
1. Submission - engagement with various departments for technical info
2. Public Participation - via NEMA or landuse application public participation requirements
3. Decision Making - while not a simple process it could be undertaken by a municipal or provincial official or via political processes. There is always an opportunity to appeal such decisions.

Uitsig Farm Redevelopment:

  • Environmental process has not yet been completed - final documentation has not been received by Council.

  • The planning application has been submitted to Council.

  • The overarching Urban Structure Plan needs to be amended before the process can be completed. This amendment needs to be decided upon by Province via the Physical Planning Act as the highest level of plan, & this must be completed before the Environmental Authorisation can be issued.

Princessvlei:

  • The development had subdivision / rezoning / environmental approval - but the rezoning & ROD lapsed last year.

  • A revised submission was forwarded to DEAD&P requesting an extension. This was not possible as the ROD had already lapsed, but as the development no longer triggers any of the new regulations environmental authorisation is no longer required. But there are some outstanding environmental & heritage issues that need to be resolved. The time frame appeal will possibly have another public participation process.

  • Responsibility for the planning process now rests with Province in the form of an appeal on the landuse rezoning.

  • Further opportunity for public participation will be via the LUPO process.

Questions:

Q  JG: Is it possible for an application to by-pass the Council processes and go straight to Province?
A  RW: Removal or amendments of title restrictions can, but the Council is generally asked to assist with the process of advertising.

Q  JF: Several development applications have recently been received by the Ratepayers Assoc adjacent to riverine areas, but not by WESSA. Why?
A  RW: Often Council is unaware of which community organisations should be contacted, and the database is often very outdated. The process of updating is ongoing, but should an organisation wish to ensure they are included on the database they should speak to the Sub-Council Manager (Brian Ford in this case) to register.

Q  JG: What is the relationship between the Urban Edge & Urban Structure Plan?
A  RW: They don’t always talk to one another. The Urban Edge has no formal status, but is a policy document. The long-term plan is that the City-wide Structure Plan & the Urban Edge policy do align and are then adopted as the Urban Structure Plan. This however will take quite some time.

Q  CH: How does an applicant act on behalf of the City as the landowner?
A  RW: This is undertaken via a Power of Attorney, but this is no longer possible as every development of such a nature will be required to go through a tender process.

6. Pathways in Tokai - Sandra Hollerman (Section Ranger, Silvermine Section)

Presentation Summary:

  • Lower Tokai is 73 ha in extent. SANParks took over the management of the lower plantation area in 2005. Most of the harvesting has now been completed in lower Tokai.

  • The perimeter walkway is about 4km in length. It is largely finished. Gaps have been left for boardwalks, which will be constructed by another contracting team. The bottom section near the M3 requires boardwalks capable of carrying horses and a rubber mat needs to be placed near a wet sloping section, so that the horses don’t slip.

  • The greatest challenge experienced during the construction of the walkway was around accommodating the various needs of the different users.

  • Design – laterite was used to accommodate a variety of users (bikes, walkers, prams etc). 2m was settled on for the shared-use pathways. Use of local materials was incorporated and felled material was utilised for edging, “paving”, retaining structures and benches etc. Bare sand is used for the horse paths next to the laterite pathways.

  • Planting – a tree list has been drawn up but it doesn’t only include locally indigenous trees. It has been vetted by specialists & is therefore not very extensive. There will be a watering plan in place when planting is undertaken. Many of the large trees have been left to create an avenue affect. Some have been used in-situ as benches & seats.

  • Funding has come from TMF and the SA Pedal Power Association.

  • Sandra mentioned that the public perception is starting to change from the negative to positive as they see progress and begin to understand what the changes will bring about.

Questions:

Q  JG: Where are we with Soetvlei coming over to SANParks?
A  SH: A Management Plan has been submitted to Province, but it now is a matter of time.

Q  JG: Timing for the Biodiversity Burn?
A  SH: Ideally SANParks is hoping for this week.

Q  JG: Sourcing of trees:
A  SH: SANParks is mainly dealing with Just Trees, who are donating about 1000 trees. They are aiming to have the public involved in the planting activities.

7. The New NEMA Regulations with respect to watercourses - Suretha Dorse

Presentation Summary:

The old regs were promulgated in 2006 – the new regs came out in 2010 – then amended again in Dec 2010. The old regs. had two lists of activities, while the new amendments now have 3 lists. The third one relates to each Province as specified geographical areas. The 3 lists are stipulated as GN.544, 545 and 546.

Definitions of watercourses and wetlands are explained.

Under GN No R544 the actions that trigger Basic Assessment Activities:

  • Construction of canals…buildings, structures and infrastructure within 32m of the stream & 50m² or more (both threshold must be exceeded to trigger the regs) [or occurs behind a set-back line (determination of setback lines still underway]

  • The expansion of canals… within 32m of a stream

  • Expansion of building/buildings with 50m² or more - triggers

  • Moving of 5m³ of soils, etc – excluding where it is for maintenance purposes

Scoping / EIA process triggers:

  • Removal of peat

  • Construction of dams

Basic Assessment triggers in Western Cape:

  • Clearing 300m² or more of a critically endangered veg type

  • Inside urban areas clearing of more than 1 ha of indigenous veg (POS, conservation areas, within 100m of high water mark, watercourse / sea side of development setback line.

  • Construction of jetties, slipways, buildings or infrastructure or more than 10m² in POS and conservation areas.

  • Expansion of jetties, slipways, buildings or infrastructure with 10m² or more within POS or conservation areas.

To read more see the linked file on;
http://zandvleitrust.org.za/pdf/zvt-what%20NEMA%20says%20about%20rivers%20and%20wetlands%20march%202011.pdf 

DEAD&P will be producing an interpretation guideline in due time.

Contact numbers:
Green Scorpions: 24 Hour Hotline 0800 205 005   /   Tel: 021 483 4363   /   Fax: 021 483 2797

Questions:

Q   MN: What about firebreaks more than 1ha triggering the regs?
A   SD: Probably, If the proposed clearing triggers the thresholds stipulated - fencing the BCA triggers the regs for example.

Q   MN: What about rehab work or emergency rehab work?
A   SD: There seems to be no compensation for rehab work - it needs to go through the full process if it triggers the threshold stipulated in the regulations.

Q   JF: What about incremental development that falls below the thresholds i.e house extensions such as what is occurring in Kirstenhof along the Westlake River?
A   SD: The regs do accommodate for cumulative work in a phased manner. There is a specific activity that captures that.

8. Maintanence Activities and the NEMA Regulations - Candice Haskins

Presentation Summary:

A tender process is currently being run to appoint an Environmental Assessment Practitioner to obtain authorisation of river / vlei management interventions which is required in terms of NEMA.

Motivation for the project:

  • In an urban environment, management interventions MUST be undertaken. Sometimes this is undertaken to promote habitat & biotic diversity. It is also necessary to ensure that integrity of the City’s stormwater infrastructure network.

“Management interventions” include:

  • Construction & maintenance of silt traps/sedimentation areas

  • C&M of litter traps, stabilising gabions/weirs/canals/stormwater outlets/culverts

  • Bank shaping / grading (earthworks)

  • Removal & dewatering of silt / organic sediments from wetlands (dredging)

  • Removal of silt & sand from rivers, canals etc

  • Removal of litter / rubble from rivers, canals etc

Legislative requirements:

  • Under the Environmental Conservation Act the city was authorised to undertake maintenance work in rivers/vleis - this was accompanied by many best practice methodologies and manuals. This authorisation is no longer valid.

  • The authorisation process needs to be repeated since some management interventions may trigger listed activities under NEMA.

Summary of the project requirements:

  • Maintenance Management Plan for existing built infrastructure

  • Environmental Management Plan for other management interventions - this will be supported by updated best practice method statements & the development of a “Standard Operating Procedure”. Training of district staff & contractors will be included in this plan.

  • Similarly, management interventions may require a water use license in terms of the National Water Act eg. If management interventions involve “impeding / diverting flows.

As the entire project is being undertaken under NEMA regulations, an opportunity will exist for public participation. (The project will run from June 2011 - June 2012)

To read more see the linked file on;
http://zandvleitrust.org.za/pdf/zvt-river%20maintenance%20march%202011.pdf 

Questions:

Q PP: Is this being implemented on a national basis?
A CH: CT is the first authority attempting such a process.

Meeting closed at 16h50.

 

9. General

1. Maintenance along Keysers River - Complaint received by WESSA regarding the mowing & lack of management of dumping & cleaning up by CouncilAction: MT to liaise with Trevor Carol regarding dumping & Eugene Rayners regarding mowing.

2. Steenberg Shopping Centre - follow-up / report-back on the pollution of Westlake Stream needed by Pollution Control.Action: MT to follow-up with Melissa Tang / Mike Mulder regarding progress.

3. Westlake River Rehabilitation Project - Mandy briefly explained that R40 000 had been received by WESSA as a Grant-in-Aid. Work will be undertaken in conjunction with the City (ERM, CSRM & Parks) in order to increase the impact of the project. Work will be concentrated between the boardwalk & the bridge to the school in this first phase. The reasoning is that the area is wetter & will therefore require less maintenance of the planted areas. Management at the school has not yet been established, but it is hoped that in time additional funds can be sourced to continue the project downstream as a joint project with the school.

 

10. Meeting Close-out

Meeting closed at 16h15.

 

11. Next Meeting

Monday, 28th June 2011 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers.

                                                                                                                                                         

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