Zandvlei trust

 25 years of ZVT - 11 September 2013 by Cherry Giljam.

Cherry speaking at the 2008 AGM.
Sharon was recording the minutes.

A convivial crowd of members, friends and City of Cape Town employees enjoyed a special evening together celebrating 25 years of active environmental involvement by The Zandvlei Trust.
The occasion was held at Imperial Yacht Club on the shores of the Zandvlei Estuary and the home of many a ZVT meeting. Sharon Mc Callum, the current chairperson of the Zandvlei Trust hosted the event, which started with wine and sumptuous snacks before everyone was treated to two interesting presentations by Joshua Gericke (Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve - Manager) and James Mugabe (Muizenberg East Conservation Cluster - Manager).

As a long time member, of the ZVT I found the occasion quite unexpectedly an emotional event and would like to thank the ZVT committee for making an occasion of this ‘anniversary’. It made one take stock of the many achievements of the ZVT members in partnership with the local authorities and of course local communities over 25 years.

Perhaps the most important achievement in that time has been the declaration of many hectares of what had been Public Open Space to now ‘proclaimed’ City of Cape Town Nature Reserve status. The largest being the Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve. Most of these parcels of land are presently awaiting Provincial Reserve status. This will ensure their preservation for prosterity enabling future generations to help conserve and enjoy this unique and endangered bio diverse area.
I am not sure the young people who now ‘manage’ this unique resource, fully understand the vision and tenacity of those who came before them in the battle to identify, audit, rehabilitate and then fight for the right (Yes, protests, petitions et al) to proclaim these areas, many of which were literally ‘rescued’ from the clutches of developers, The Old Anglo Nursery Site, on which all the utility buildings stand and Park Island are just two such examples.

Where urban development did flourish as in Muizenberg East it was under the watchful eye of the Trust and we were permitted to ‘rescue’ and ‘relocate’ valuable flora and fauna before the bulldozers moved in.
The present proclaimed Reserve areas carry with them a big responsibility in terms of management but they also offer a unique opportunity for the ZVT to expand it’s membership and influence.

In 2002 the prestigious Cape Times / Caltex Environmental Award was presented to the partnership and combined environmental efforts of the ZVT, Home Owner Associations around the vlei and the City of Cape Town / Zandvlei Nature Reserve for their collective projects. These included Environmental Education, the Westlake Wetlands, the Westlake Walkway, the Rehabilitation of Park Island, the Langevlei Canal and the Zandvlei Estuary Mouth as well as the launch of ZIMP the community based monitoring system of the ‘Greater Zandvlei Estuary Area.’

This newly extended beautiful and unique ‘jewel’ must continue to be managed holistically but within that ongoing vision there is space for local community involvement, contribution and enjoyment.

I sincerely wish that the Zandvlei Trust will be that catalyst.


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