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Thursday, 30 November 2017

A proposal has been put forward to rename the Little Glen Nature Reserve.
The City of Cape Town has begun the public participation process to rename the Little Glen Nature Reserve in Camps Bay after the late Arthur Shephard.
This comes after the Camps Bay Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CBRRA) submitted a proposal to the City in 2015 that the Little Glen Nature Reserve be renamed in honour of Mr Shephard who was a Camps Bay resident.
The chairperson of the City’s Naming and Nomination Committee, Brett Herron, said in a statement on Friday November 24: “According to Chris Willemse, the chairperson of the CBRRA, Mr Shephard contributed a lot of his personal time and money to transform this gem. The local community, volunteers, and the City assisted him in realising this dream.
“Following on from the discussion, the committee recommended to the City’s executive mayor, Patricia de Lille, that the City undertake a public participation process for the renaming of the reserve to Arthur Shephard’s Little Glen Nature Reserve.”
Mr Herron added that once the mayor has approved this recommendation, the City’s public participation unit will commence with the process of requesting comment and input from residents and interested and affected parties in Camps Bay.
Mr Willemse stressed that they did not want to see the iconic name of “Little Glen” disappear, rather, they wanted to see it renamed as Arthur Shephard’s Little Glen Nature Reserve.
Mr Willemse said it was worthy of a member of the community who turned the space around from something that was disused into a vibrant community park.
“The man deserves a lot of credit.”
Mr Willemse added that Mr Shephard used a lot of his own time and resources to turn the place around.
Mr Willemse described the work done by Mr Shephard as phenomenal and said that this would be a worthy honour for a dedicated community member. “We don’t want to see the name of Little Glen disappear. We submitted the application two years ago so we don’t know how long the process will take,” he added.
Mr Shephard passed away two years ago.
This article was created by Matthew Hirsch and can be found here

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Have a say on Little Glen

A public participation process is set to take place for the renaming of the Little Glen Nature Reserve in Camps Bay.
The City of Cape Town’s naming and nomination committee made the recommendation to carry out the process earlier this month.
The Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents’ Association (CBRRA) submitted a proposal to the City that the nature reserve be renamed in honour of the late Arthur Shephard.
Shephard coordinated the transformation of this nature reserve from a run-down underused public space to an area that is beautifully landscaped, secure and popular among visitors and the local community of Camps Bay, explains committee chairperson Brett Herron.
“According to Chris Willemse, chairperson of the CBRRA, Shephard contributed a lot of his personal time and money to transform this gem. “The local community, volunteers and the City assisted him in realising this dream,” he says.
“Once the mayor has approved this recommendation, the City’s public participation unit will commence with the process of requesting comment and input from residents and interested and affected parties in Camps Bay.”
This article was published on News 24 for the Peoples Post and can be found here

Saturday, 11 November 2017

CCT sewage shame

In December last year, I made a short documentary called ‘Bay of Sewage’. It went viral, getting 50,000 hits in the first 10 days. I’m planning a sequel, called ‘Cape of Sewage’. Actually, I hope to call it ‘Sewage Solutions’. Because sewage is not rocket science, and with the right people, we can easily fix this crisis.
What? Another crisis?

Let me explain. In the 60s and 70s, the world tragically gave Thalidomide to pregnant mothers, and sprayed DDT to kill mosquitoes. And we thought that pumping raw sewage out to sea was alright.  Since then, the world has moved on. But in terms of marine sewage outfalls, Cape Town hasn’t progressed.
At Camps Bay, Hout Bay, and Mouille Point, we pump out a combined total of about 47Ml per day.That’s 19 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  A lot of human waste (and a lot of recyclable water).
But since the 70s, something else has changed too. Cape Town, Camps Bay, and Hout Bay have doubled, quadrupled or grown ten-fold in size. So we’re discharging much more sewage than ever before.
And our ‘chemical load’ in that wastewater is higher than ever.  Think pharmaceuticals, household detergents, anti-bacterial soaps and on and on. Some of it carcinogenic. Or endocrine-disrupting, fish-fertility-killing stuff.
The latest study, from the University of the Western Cape (which I’ve seen) shows our chemicals are massively bio-accumulating (building up) in Atlantic Seaboard marine life. Especially in mussels, which you might eat. (Hint for lovers of sea life: please use biodegradable detergents.)
The Cape Peninsula is a Protected Marine Reserve. So we’re pooing in our Reserve, if you’ll excuse my French. But the city denies that dumping sewage there is illegal. Fortunately, the Camps Bay Ratepayers sought senior legal counsel on this, and the latest opinion, I’ve been led to believe, states the opposite. So expect a legal battle.
The city also denies they are pumping raw sewage. They called it pre-treated, or something. But the science is clear. There are 4 stages of treatment. And the city only does Stage 0, which is screening for large objects (think tampons and nappies). That is called preliminary-treatment, something which happens before you properly chemically-treat anything. So to me and many others, our sewage effluent is ‘raw’. (And I have a BSc in Civil Engineering. I spent 2 of a 4 years course studying this stuff, literally.)
But does the city even always do Stage 0? Has anyone seen trucks lining up at the Camps Bay pumping station to remove the screened waste from the Olympic-pool-size quantities passing through? Some suspect all that happens there is maceration – grinding material into a pulp, then pumping it out.
The city often claims that since Sydney pumps sewage to sea,  it must be fine for us, too. Except … um… surely the city knows that Sydney DOESN’T pump out raw sewage? They screen it, like we do, then they treat it to stage 1 (primary treatment, sinking solids) and then to stage 2 (secondary, UV treatment).
And it goes out 3km, as opposed to around 700m from our Maiden’s Cove beach. And in Sydney, it goes into open seas, unlike ours which goes into our Table Bay, or much worse, into little Hout Bay.  And theirs is discharged at a depth of 60m, versus Camps Bay’s 30m.
And guess what? Sydney STILL has problems. I know this, because last week, I interviewed an oceanographer, who was once officially employed in Sydney to study the issue. So is our city perhaps intentionally misleading the public?
Our city also claims they test our sea-water regularly, so everything is fine. But I have good reason to believe their testing is inadequate. An award-winning public health expert explained it to me. That’ll be in the next video too.
And yes, at Camps Bay we have so-called ‘Blue Flag’ status. Except only half the beach is Blue Flag – because, by Blue Flag’s own rules, you can’t get certification with a pump-station on the beach. So does the city ever announce that Blue Flag covers only half the beach?
And the latest from WESSA, the wildlife society who are supposed to monitor the situation, is an admission that city-testing was ‘not fully independent and could be improved on’ in 2016. Will the city tell anyone? Um… probably not.
And the city says they employed the CSIR to do an independent sewage impact study. Which is true; they did employ the CSIR. But guess what? I don’t believe that report is fully independent. Because when I phoned the CSIR, they confirmed the city supplied much of the data for that report. Scandalous. And the city has thus far refused to release that report to the public, despite promising it in December last year.
But just think, if pumping sewage to sea was perfectly safe, then New York, for example, could shut its 26 (treatment) plants and just pump it to sea. The same for Barcelona and every coastal city worldwide. Billions of dollars would be saved. Except that would be nonsense.
Yet when I posed this conundrum to a top city official, I believe his response was:  yes, he would love to shut every plant in Cape Town and pump it all out to sea. Only the cost of pipes was holding him back. And this response was from an official in charge of treating sewage! It is ridiculous. This is what we’re dealing with.
I could go on. But you get the picture? Our city really, really doesn’t want to treat that sewage. But why are they so incredibly obstinate on this issue?
Is it a question of cost? How much would a treatment plant in Camps Bay or Hout Bay cost? (Bearing in mind the city gets close to R1m/month in sewage levies from Camps Bay alone, and it’s 40 years since they last built a pumping station there, so that’s R500m that should have been set aside…). How much would it cost to pump the 37Ml from Mouille Point to a proper treatment works, where that water could be recycled? Has the city bothered to get those figures?
And what about the losses when fewer tourists come to South Africa’s tourist golden-miles of Camps Bay and Hout Bay? Because yes, foreign tourists do actually care about this, er… poo.
I have another theory, though. Firstly, I believe our mayoral committee is obsessed with selling off public land, rather than preserving it for the public good.
Stories of our city siding with developers over ratepayers, and even fighting them in court, are frighteningly common. I won’t go on about it here. Scroll through and read it there.
My point is, the people who run our city, seem intent on running it like a business. Are they trying to turn a cash profit, rather than run a public service for citizens? 
They certainly don’t seem to be listening to our engineers and planners often enough, or investing properly in infrastructure. Hence our water and sewage crises.
You see, it might be all the same issue – bad management. Suffer the people. Our city slogan used to be ‘This city works for you’. Clearly, that was no longer appropriate.
But is it more than just bad management? Let’s look specifically at Maiden’s Cove reserve, the only public space left in Camps Bay, on which we could build a primary-treatment plant, to take out 60% of sewage. Odourless and underground, they have such plants in cities like New York. But, oops! That land has just been sold.
Yes, since 2015, instead of putting all her energy into sewage and water, our mayor seems to have diverted large council resources into plotting the sale of Maiden’s Cove land. Why? And why was it suddenly sold last month?
Let’s speculate. Is it because the mayor is under huge pressure from the water crisis? And perhaps on her way out?
While we debate this, let’s please stop that sale. But let’s not take too long. Our sewage, which could be recycled, is still being pumped into our bays, killing-off our marine life, and surely floating back to shore.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Sea Rescue Station damaged in storm

Stormy seas at Three Anchor Bay last week.
The NSRI Bakoven sea rescue station suffered extensive damages during the storm last week.
The rescue station was flooded and an electrical box caught alight, causing fire damage last Wednesday, June 7.
Most of the equipment and the sea rescue boat Rotarian Schipper had been moved to safety the day before in preparation for the storm.
Craig Lambinon, spokesman for the NSRI, said the base would require expensive repair work.
The NSRI said on the same day a woman was trapped on the rocks in the tidal pool at Camps Bay.
Mr Lambinon said the woman had been sitting on the rocks for some time and was stranded when the high tide came in.
She was helped to safety by bystanders and treated by Community Medics paramedics and by ER24 ambulance services. She was then taken to the police station until her family could be reached.
The storm also damaged 135 schools across the province.
MEC for Education in the Western Cape, Debbie Schäfer said they
would fix minor damages as soon as possible.
Public schools across the province were closed last Wednesday in anticipation of the storm which was expected to be the worst in 30 years. Winds of up to 90km an hour were predicted along with much needed rain in the drought-ravaged Western Cape.
In Lavender Hill, 69-year-old Joseph Conning died when part of his neighbour’s unfinished double-storey house fell on him.
Mr Conning was standing in the kitchen of his wendy house.
Mr Conning’s nephew Jody Africa, 19, was with him in the wendy house and sustained head injuries.
The family, however, said they don’t harbour any resentment towards the neighbour Chrisandro Dirks, a shoemaker, who was periodically building the double-storey house as money came in.
“We started about four years ago and we were in the process of building two bedrooms. What happened is such a tragedy because Uncle Joe was my friend. We spoke every morning and I am very sad that he died the way he did,” said Mr Dirks.