Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 25th May 2009 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers

Present

Martin Thompson (chairman) :                 CCT – Catchment, Stormwater and Roads Management (CSRM)
Leighan Mossop :                                   TMNP
Sharon McCallum (secretary minutes):     ZVT
Gavin Lawson :                                       ZVT
Jean Fillis :                                            Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Joshua Gericke :                                    CCT Biodiversity
John Green :                                          WESSA & Friends of Tokai Forest
Joan Heming :                                        Constantia POA
Brian Ratcliffe :                                       FOCVGB
Dennis Davey :                                       Friends of Die Oog
Candice Haskins :                                  CCT – CSRM
Mandy Noffke :                                       Wetland Solutions
Alice Ashwell :                                       EnviroEds
Patrick Dowling :                                    WESSA WC
Kier Hennessy :                                     CCT – Spatial Planning
Otto Beukes :                                        CCT – Biodiversity Guttural
Nicole Andrews :                                    CCT – ERM
Michael Dreyer :                                     Diep River Plumstead resident.

Apologies

George Davis
Richard Walton
Phillippa Huntley
Suretha Dorse
James Forsyth
Cherry Giljam
Cassandra Sheasby
Lee Leith
Liz Brunette
Louise Kinrade

 

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 needed.

2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
The previous minutes were approved – subject to Mandy Noffke’s name (again) having to be corrected – there is only 1 K in Noffke and it is not at the beginning!!!

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) – Gavin has been trying and will continue to do so. (Since the meeting, Gavin reports having received an email stating that Lars Maack meets with the collective group every 2 weeks and had raised the subject of attending our meetings at his last meeting. The farms like all other business are run on a minimum of staff. He says it makes sense to have only a manager or owner as a rep (with broader knowledge base) than a sales or marketing person. He will try and get someone appointed for the next meeting.

Action : Gavin will remind him closer to the next meeting.

Item 7 (minutes 23.2.2009) map of vegetation types – Martin has an A0 print of the map and will display it at the next meeting – and a list of the Web links which will be given to Sharon for inclusion in the minutes – see below :
http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/EnvironmentalResourceManagement/publications/Documents/Biodiversity%20Report%20CCT-LAB%202008.pdf 

4. ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON AGENDA

Action : Martin Thompson to send letter on behalf of SRCF to James Forsyth.

5. PLANNING – SDP FOR DISTRICT H AND MOSS : Kier Hennesy
Kier Hennesy introduced himself as the Spatial Planner for districts H and G – H being the one that the SRCF falls within. He said that he would give a snap shot of spatial planning in Cape Town together with the current initiatives on hand. He referred to the Spatial Development Framework and the Spatial Development plan, the one informing the other. The planning for the City and the role of spatial planning to shape where the City develops in the future must be seen in context – across the City as a whole. The framework is in respect of different groups who work towards a common goal and should accommodate public investment and infrastructure. It gives directions on a level of principle – broad outlines. The intention is to pull all of the previous planning together (some of which are still in draft). The second part of the public participation process will take place in the second half of this year – the plans are currently being reviewed.

The purpose of the framework is to develop key spatial strategies, and from those policy statements are drafted to guide policy thereafter. Two key planning areas include the urban edge and densification.

The SDP is divided into 8 districts and provides inter alia;

  • points of departure from the framework

  • a planning package which consists of key issues, conceptual framework, development informants, new development areas and urban restructuring and upgrading

  • focus action areas – gives direction to future structure plans, e.g. water, urbanisation etc.

Some key issues include maximising infrastructure and improving the east-west corridor. There are five strategies on the table which include protecting and enhancing what we have already, mountain to sea linkages, lowest river reaches and estuaries and vlei’s.

The objectives for district H are to achieve a balance between biodiversity and urban growth and to ensure that urbanisation does not compromise natural and cultural resources. There is a large imperative for growth and it is important to identify in which areas we can see new development

Different zones are identified and in respect of each zone, what kind of activities would be acceptable, e.g. no hotels in wetlands.

Metropolitan Open Spaces System (MOSS) – great cities have great public spaces. We are blessed in Cape Town but there are certain issues that are not doing well. The Cape MOSS strategy which the City has been working on for some time and is not yet formally approved, is very challenging i.e. identifying and managing open spaces.

They are looking to focus on certain areas – for this district H and for the whole City – to find out where are the big problems.

Joan Heming had a few questions / comments :

  • Are there any controls for development in respect of land owned by Province or the Government? Kier responded that there are controls and that all land zoned POS can only be rezoned/developed with Provincial approval – City has a commenting role which has to be taken into account.

  • In respect of Cape MOSS – will there be urban design guidelines for the edges of public open spaces. These are in the form of a general statement at the moment but need to be formalised.

  • The economic factors are separate from scenic and cultural factors but are in fact closely intertwined. She referred again to the possibility of Cape Winelands being declared as a World Heritage Site – see previous minutes. She added that it would be nice to see the cultural landscape of the Cape Winelands be given more importance. Kier said it had been acknowledged.

Kier finished by saying that the role of land use management is to adjudicate on conflicts in use of land in terms of available plans. His department’s role is to produce plans which will be used to make decisions.

6. GUTTERAL TOAD – Otto Beukes
The project has been running for two months and there are still many unanswered questions. The Guttural Toad (GT) is the same family as the Western Leopard Toad (WLT), which is critically endangered because of declining habitat, is not adequately protected and has a tiny patchy distribution. The guttural toad is opportunistic and invasive – it has a much longer breeding period and a better success rate as well as a longer life span. Its natural distribution is much larger, its habitat broader and it can breed anywhere. It also has very few natural predators in the Western Cape. Since first discovered here in 2000, its growth has been exponential – which is during only 8 breeding seasons. The population is estimated to be approximately 110 000 (in response to a question by Jean Fillis). There is a possibility of confusing the two, but the GT is less brightly coloured and has a cross on its head whereas the WLT has two horns.

The City, Cape Nature and CAPE have joined forces to combat the problem but this is still in its planning phase which is to accurately map the distribution of the GT. The project will need partnerships with community groups and conservation organizations to educate, capture and eradicate the GT.
The contact at City is Otto Beukes whose contact number is 071 255 2220 or guttural.toad@capetown gov.za  or John Measey at Sanbi or Mark Day, the WLT man.

Joshua Gericke said that unconfirmed reports had been received of GTs being heard in Sand River.

Mandy Noffke added that it is important first to approach the people / organizations already doing work on the WLT.

7. SPAANSCHEMAT VOOR – Brian Ratcliffe
The last river walk/inspection – Spaanschemat River – was undertaken on 30 March 2009 with Brian Ratcliffe and Martin Thompson as leaders with the aim to establish the condition of the "Ou Voor". Brian explained a little of the history, the beginings of the "voor" or water ditch which was dug by slave labour in the 1700's. It was lined with clay brought in by wheel barrows. The contours of the "voor" were above the Spaanschemat River starting at the Silverhurst Dam as it is known today. In places it is more than 2 meters deep today. In some places it was 6 meters deep when it operated. It extends to all the way down to Dreyersdal vlei and joined the Keysers River near White Road in Retreat. The purpose of the "voor" was to supply perennial running water for the vegetable farmers on the flats in the valley.

Brian Ratcliffe will give a more detailed presentation on the “Voor” at the next meeting.

Martin pointed out the route of the Spaanschemat Voor – showing where it disappears and runs under Spaanschemat River road. An old headwall was found on Firgrove Way and it will be interesting to find out how it used to run – going further downstream there are other remnants. The river used to cross Main Road and only join up with the Keysers River later. It may be an idea to ask in the Constantia Bulletin for old photographs which may help – but it comes alive in its historic context.

The Spaanschemat Voor is an important historical feature and it may be of merit to have a board where it still exists. Joan Heming suggested that Professor van der Ross of Schilpad Way be approached. He has written histories and genealogies of the freed slaves who fed Cape Town in the past – they were market gardeners and flower growers and sellers. We could ask him to come and give us a talk. (Coincidentally, the Weekend Argus of 30 May 2009 has a half page article on Professor van der Ross).

Action : Martin to contact Joan and set this up.

8. SOURCE TO SEA – Mandy Noffke
Update on this project is that the final draft maps have been produced. The study areas have been expanded slightly to include the Diep River sub-catchment. The project was showcased at the recent “Conservation Marketplace” CAPE Conference where posters and a brochures were on display. The brochures provided a visual interpretation of the vision with a photo mosaic, a summary of the Princess legend, details about the vision. The principles underlying the project are:

  1. enhancement and protection of the environment;

  2. enhancement of recreational opportunities; and

  3. uplifting quality of life of local communities.

Three stakeholder workshops were held to provide details on various pathways in the upper, middle and lower catchment area. The map has coloured icons showing different types of pathways, activities and nodes (points of access). Mandy provided an overview of the maps by showing portions and pointed out various features and also some problem areas such as access across the M3 and through Dreyersdal Farm. There are lots of opportunities around Zandvlei. Safe pedestrian and cycle routes along Prince George Drive are needed. Mandy thus summarized what we have and highlighted that a vehicle for implementation of the plan and funding are needed. It was suggested that to achieve the vision an NPO might be formed and this body would attract funding. It was questioned whether the SRCF might be a suitable NPO. Dennis Davey suggested that one portion of the trail should be selected to try to get it set up and working as that would demonstrate the value of the project and help to attract further funding. There was some discussion about which portion could be chosen. Martin Thompson suggested that this could be decided at a separate meeting.

Action : Mandy to meet asap with John Green, Kier Hennessy and the representative from Pedal Power to discuss forming an NPO and moving on with the project.
Action: Mandy will meet with WWF on 6 June to discuss funding to set up an NPO.
Action : Martin to check with Kier to establish whether this plan can be incorporated into the SDF / SDP for District H.

9. GIS SOURCE TO SEA TRAIL – Alice Ashwell
Alice presented an overview of this project and described some of the activities undertaken by the learner groups in the 2 hikes that have been undertaken thus far – these included a mini-sass water quality test on each of the 3 sections and the group that hiked through the Zandvlei area inspected the litter trap on the Sand River canal. The learners appreciated the level of responsibility they were given in having to lead the hike and find their way along the route. Four high schools were involved: Bergvliet, Crestway, Muizenberg and Zwaanswyk. The future plan is to go back to the schools to assist with teaching the learners how to make their own maps using GIS. There is more detailed information of Alice’s programme on the Zandvlei Trust website –  www.zandvleitrust.org.za under Environmental Education.

10. TOKAI BIODIVERSITY CORRIDOR – Leighan Mossop
As areas of Tokai Plantation are felled they are being handed to SANParks for rehab and management. Porter Estate will not be handed over but there are discussions between SANParks and Province to try to arrange corridors and to influence how/if at all that land will be developed in the future. There is a proposal to take over the Manor House (on a 99 year lease) as SANParks offices but that is uncertain. There was a suggestion that the Forum provide a letter of support regarding the inclusion of Soetvlei and Porter Estate corridors in the SANParks plans on a 99 year lease.

Action: Martin Thompson will contact the person at Province to encourage co-operation between Provincial Government and National Parks when managing this corridor.
Action : Martin to send letter of support.

11. GROOTBOSCHKLOOF REPORT BACK – James Forsyth
This was held over until the next meeting due to James ill health.

12. DOCUMENT FILING – Gavin Lawson
Documents, letters, presentations etc from the SRCF should be archived =these are our current knowledge base which is the legacy for future Forum members – and for students undertaking research. 
The information could be kept on a file server (that has password protected access) eg. the Zandvlei Trust server or one could be set up specifically for SRCF.  An independent server would cost a monthly or annual fee for server space.
Documents that could be on the file server include; Word documents, spread sheets (Excel), PowerPoint presentations, pdf’s and jpegs.

Action: Martin Thompson will check what options exist through the City.

13. GENERAL
River Inspections
The next River Inspection will be on 27th July 2009.

Action : Martin to send email confirming venue and time and place to meet.

14. NEXT MEETING

Monday, 24th August 2009 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                

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