Zandvlei Trust

Westlake River inspection - 07 May 2010.

The Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands asked the local Councillor Dennis Joseph to give them an informal walk about inspection and update on the Westlake River area, where the new school is being built. He also managed to fit in his busy schedule - the area where the elevated boardwalk and bridge over the river to the shopping centre will be, when the legal expropriation of Reddam High School land has taken place.

The location of the school is of concern to the Friends Group as it appears to be being built in the floodplain area of the Westlake River. The issue is complex, as it involves land swops by national, provincial and local governments of the past. The local community require a school and there is no other land available for a school to be built.

Looking north towards the Pollsmor Prison boundary wall, 
the bulldozers and graders are busy levelling and increasing
the height of the site for the foundations so that the building 
will be above the 1:100 year flood level.

The Westlake River looking west towards the Westlake Village shopping 
complex, with the Steenberg Estate behind.

The Westlake River flowing through temporary pipes. A culvert
road crossing is being built over the river.

The mechanical shovel digging  the foundations for the preformed concrete culverts.

This is the Westlake River flowing east towards the Pollsmor Dam
beyond the dark green trees in the centre of the photo.

A Cape River Crab scuttled out of the mud where the mechanical
shovel had dug soil out of the water course.

This level ground next to the brick wall is proposed to be the school sports
field (also in the floodplain) as the land on the other side of the river is not
big enough. There is a wetland with typha to the west of the proposed sports field.

The earth works taking place so that the culverts can be inserted into position over the river.

Part of the group discussing the the issues and being informed with some of the details.

The group is very concerned about the overall balance of the habitat for 
flood management, the survival of working ecosystems in the corridor for
all the living creatures, including the humans. The Westlake River further
down has been impacted and is currently suffering from blue green algae
bloom (a highly toxic natural outbreak to mammals and other invertabrates) 
an indication that a serious imbalance has occured.

An illegal bridge construction across the river to an informally fenced off paddock for goats.

The shelter for the goats are some boards against the wall of Pollsmor Prison.
There are domestic geese grazing on this side of the river in the foreground.

The overgrown and choked water course with many exotic plants. Indicating
plant species show high nutrient enrichment in the run off water and possibly
over flows from sewerage and stormwater pipes.

Councillor Joseph showing us the "informal route" through the palasade fence.
The planned route when the suburb was laid out was for the local residents
to walk around the outer suburbs (a good few kilometers) to get to the shops.

Rubbish is being dumped in this open space along side the river. This Cattle Egret
was scouting around in the mess for something to eat, when we passed.

This is the land under legal process which needs to be transferred from Reddam School
so that the board walk can be formalised. The public participation process
has been completed, with all the designs and budgets approved for implementation.

The fence has been stolen for scrap metal resale.

The informal bridge (boards, grates and concrete blocks) for crossing the river.
Not a safe or an easy task to use in the winter months when it rains.

The pathway on the northern side of the river along side the shopping complex.
This pathway will become an elevated boardwalk for the local residents to access
the shops and back to home.

We thank the Councillor for making time available for the information update.

                                                                                                                                             

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