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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Seaboard safety plan


Authorities are urging beach-goers to stay safe during the festive season
Authorities and rescue services are preparing for an influx of visitors to the popular Atlantic seaboard beaches in the coming weeks.
The City of Cape Town confirmed that extra law enforcement officials will be deployed to keep beach-goers safe. The City said there will be lifeguards deployed on certain days over the next few weeks.
Wayne Dyason, spokesperson for Law Enforcement for the City of Cape Town, specialised units would be diverted to the beaches during the peak season.
“The beaches are a priority area for the City over the festive season as many of our locals, as well as tourists, are attracted to the city’s beautiful, pristine beaches during this period. Unfortunately, those with criminal intent also see the beach areas as rich pickings for their activities.
“Keeping all our visitors safe and dealing with these threats is a priority and for that additional manpower is needed,” he said.
The City’s auxiliary officers will also be active over the season and augment the efforts of our full-time officers.”
Mr Dyason added that the focus of the festive season safety plan would be the safety of all visitors. “In order to achieve this, officers will pay attention to enforcing all of the City’s by-laws and in particular the Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Noise Nuisance By-law and the clampdown on alcohol on our beaches by enforcing the provisions of the Seashore Act.”
He added that working with structures such as SAPS as well as local Community Police Forums (CPFs) was a vital part of the safety plan. “It is extremely important because an integrated approach to fighting crime is a proven and effective method of combating criminality. To this end the City’s enforcement agencies are committed to supporting all national policing programmes.”
Meanwhile, the City also confirmed that there will be extra lifeguards on duty at some of the popular beaches including Camps Bay and Clifton. Lifeguards will be deployed between 10am and 6pm daily to 22 beaches until January 31 next year. Thereafter, they will be deployed to beaches only on weekends and public holidays until March 31.
In a statement last week, JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, said: “We made this arrangement to compensate for the closure of many municipal swimming pools that will more than likely see an increase in visitor numbers to our beaches and tidal pools.
“We also thank Lifesaving Western Province for their continued support in helping us build a safer city which is a critical priority in our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan.”
According to Mr Smith, the City has more than 270 trained and accredited temporary lifeguards and over 1 500 volunteer lifeguards on duty, as well as the voluntary services of the various lifesaving clubs affiliated to Lifesaving Western Province. This year, the Recreation and Parks Department has a pool of 100 additional lifeguards for deployment as needed.
Mr Smith added: “However, much of our success will depend on the cooperation of the public. We still have far too many people who swim outside of the designated bathing areas and who disregard the instructions of lifeguards. Alcohol is the other major factor that bedevils our efforts to ensure public safety.
“We expect the amount of confiscated alcohol to increase significantly in the weeks ahead. It’s more than a little frustrating, because it does feel as though we say the same things over and over and yet history repeats itself every year. I implore the public to please use common sense when they are out and about on the roads and at recreational facilities. Alcohol impairs one’s judgement and leads to reckless and irresponsible behaviour that endangers the affected person as well as others who are wanting to enjoy our beaches. Surely a few hours of good clean fun can be had without it. I am hoping that we can have a festive season without the tragedy of drownings.”
The National Sea and Rescue Institute (NSRI) has also urged holiday makers planning to visit the coast to stay safe this summer. In a statement last week, spokesperson Craig Lambinon said: “The NSRI is asking parents to make sure their children have responsible adult supervision around all water. We are urging the public to prepare, with a safety conscious mindset, before venturing to the beach, swimming pools, lagoons, lakes, rivers and dams.”
Water safety tips from the NSRI:
1. Children should have responsible adult supervision when in or near water.
2. Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty and swim between their flags.
3. Don’t drink alcohol before you swim.
4. Never swim alone. Swim in groups.
5. Swimming pool fences and a child safe pool cover or net is vital at home swimming pools.
6. Know how to survive rip currents.
7. Don’t attempt a rescue yourself.
8. Do not let children use floating objects, toys or tyre tubes at the beach or on dams as they may cause you to be blown to deep water by winds.
9. Do not be distracted by your cellphone.
10. Wear life jackets when you are on a boat.
11. If your boat has a kill switch always wear it.
12. Paddlers and boaters should have NSRI’s free RSA App Safetrx cellphone app dowloaded and used on cellphones.
13. Wear bright clothing.
14. Rock anglers should wear life jackets.
15. Have local emergency numbers programmed into your phone.
16. Do not dive into water.
By MATTHEW HIRSCH
https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/seaboard-safety-plan-12487303

Thursday, 14 December 2017

People urged to use public transport



The City of Cape Town has urged residents to use public transport ahead of what is expected to be a busy festive period.
The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority, in conjunction with the City’s Traffic Service, will, over the next five weeks, intervene to prevent and alleviate gridlock conditions along the Atlantic Seaboard and the False Bay coastline between Strandfontein and Muizenberg.
The City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said: “We have been implementing this strategy for the past four years and intend to do so once again.
“The interventions will happen on an ad hoc basis – thus, as and when needed. More importantly, the interventions may affect those travelling in private vehicles in particular. I therefore urge residents and visitors to make use of public transport as far as possible.
“The MyCiTi service has a number of routes to and from popular spots across Cape Town – in particular to and from Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Clifton, Camps Bay and Hout Bay.
Mr Herron added: “Traffic congestion has become a regular occurrence along the Atlantic Seaboard during the holiday period. The best solution remains to avoid travelling to this area in private vehicles, and to rather opt for public transport, walking, and cycling as far as possible.
The MyCiTi service offers a hassle-free option for those who do not want to be stuck in gridlock traffic while searching for limited on-street parking.
“Visitors can park their private vehicles in the city central business district or Foreshore area and use the MyCiTi bus service or any other public transport service to reach the beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard, in particular on December 26 and January 1, which are popular beach days in perfect weather conditions.
Atlantic Seaboard
Those who have visited the Atlantic Seaboard during the festive season in previous years will know that parking is limited and that it can easily take two to three hours to travel between Sea Point and Camps Bay by car.
Interventions will take place on an ad hoc basis at the main entry points to the Atlantic Seaboard as and when gridlock conditions necessitate it.
In Sea Point and Bantry Bay, interventions may take place at the following intersections:
Queens and Beach roads
Queens and Victoria roads
Queens and Regent roads
In Camps Bay, interventions may take place at the following intersections:
Houghton Road and Camps Bay Drive
Victoria and Houghton roads
“MyCiTi buses, coaches, minibus-taxis and tour operators will have preferential access to the Atlantic Seaboard during the interventions. Those travelling in private vehicles may be stopped at these intersections and redirected back to where they were coming from until the traffic congestion has been alleviated to an acceptable level.
“Thus, private vehicles could be directed away from their desired destination for as long as it takes for the gridlock situation to subside,” said Mr Herron.
Table Mountain
Visitors to Table Mountain are also strongly advised to make use of the MyCiTi service as Kloof Nek Road becomes congested during the festive season. There is also limited parking available in the vicinity of the cableway station.
“The MyCiTi shuttle service to the Upper Table Mountain stop is free of charge, meaning visitors need only pay on Route 107 (Camps Bay) from the central business district to the top of Kloof Nek Road, where they can disembark at the Kloof Nek Stop situated at the Kloof Nek Road/Tafelberg Road intersection. From there, commuters should transfer to the Route 110 bus – the free Table Mountain shuttle service – to the Upper Tafelberg stop and disembark at the cableway station,” said Mr Herron.
The same applies to passengers who are departing from the cableway station: they embark at the Upper Tafelberg stop and will transfer to MyCiTi Route 107 at the Kloof Nek Stop at the Kloof Nek Road/Tafelberg Road intersection.
The free shuttle on Route 110 runs every 10 to 15 minutes.
Commuters are reminded that they need a myconnect card to travel on the MyCiTi bus service. A myconnect card can be purchased for R35 from selected station kiosks and participating retailers across the city.
The City will also extend the operating hours of the MyCiTi bus service on routes to the V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk, and the beaches on selected days during the festive season.
Visitors and residents are advised to visit the MyCiTi website at www.myciti.org.za for more information about the timetable changes, or to phone the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63.
By Atlantic Sun
https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/people-urged-to-use-public-transport-12400528

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Mixed views on sea report


Photographer Jean Tresfons aerial photograph that caused a stir last year.
The release of a Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) report by the City of Cape Town confirming that sea marine wastewater outfalls pose no significant risk to human health and do not measurably affect inshore water quality or the wider environment, has been criticised by the local ratepayers’ association.
The report was commissioned after various concerns were raised by the public on the health impact for the marine environment and human health of the wastewater outfalls in Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay.
Aerial shots, also appearing to show sewage on the Atlantic seaboard, went viral on social media in 2015.In a statement released at the end of last month, the City said a 24-month long study was commissioned by the City of Cape Town in response to concerns about the impact of the wastewater outfalls on the marine environment and human health.
It has also been reviewed by external scientists.
The City appointed the CSIR in 2015 to undertake a detailed assessment.
The study took place over a 24-month period starting in late 2015 and was completed in mid-2017.
Xanthea Limberg, the City’s mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, said: “The findings of the study have confirmed the City’s position that the outfalls are not outstripping the assimilative capacity of the ocean.
“It also found that there are no measurable risks to human health posed by the outfalls through either swimming at the beach or consumption of fish caught off our coastlines. In addition, near-shore pollution (when it occurs) is as a result of urban run-off. This is typical of all urban environments.”
Trends in the concentration of metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the tissue of black mussels and West Coast rock lobsters collected at sites along the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula in 2016 also provided no evidence that mussels or rock lobsters collected inshore of the outfalls had accumulated these chemicals to excessive concentrations in their tissue, the study found.
The City further stated that in addition to testing for the accumulation of synthetic chemicals, the study also looked at whether bacteria from the outfalls was reaching the bathing areas, finding that this was nothing for bathers to worry about. Bacteria dissipated within 300 metres of the diffusers (the outfalls are 1.7km off-shore), which is echoed by the results of their coastal waters monitoring programme, and the continued status of Camps Bay and Clifton as Blue Flag beaches.
Ms Limberg added: “Going forward, the City has developed an extensive monitoring programme with the assistance of four external expert marine scientists. This monitoring programme was submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs and will be implemented as part of our permit to operate the outfalls.”
Chris Willemse, chairperson of the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA), said they were considering further action following the release of the report.
“We have seen the report and reject it in its entirety. It is deficient, misinformed and in fact dangerous.”
Mr Willemse added that the CBCRA would respond fully soon. “We are in discussions with our partners and various stakeholders.”
He added that certain things hadn’t been taken into account, such as the a new development at Maiden’s Cove and the impact that would have on the outfalls.
Mark Jackson, who directed the Bay of Sewage documentary on behalf of the CBCRA, said the report represented a waste of City funds.
“I believe that report was compromised by not being fully independent – the City supplied much of the
data for it and it was too limited in scope.”
Mr Jackson added: “The City must now concentrate on costing, and then building, proper, odourless, underground treatment and water recycling works, on public land at Maiden’s Cove, Green Point and Hout Bay. The City can no longer ignore their constitutional responsibility to properly treat sewage. And we all have a civic duty to hold them to account on this.”
However, not everyone shared the same views. Justin O’Riain, director of the Institute for Communities and Wildlife at UCT, said the report was comprehensive.
In the Atlantic Sun’s sister paper The Sentinel (“No human health risks” from sea marine outfalls”, Sentinel, November 24), he said: “It provides convincing evidence that despite our sewage being a potentially lethal cocktail of chemicals, heavy metals and bacteria, the effect on organisms living close to the outfall sites is negligible. Hence health risks to people using the inshore region along the Atlantic Seaboard from this source are clearly very low.
“Few would argue that we should aim to pollute neither the ocean nor rivers with waste generating activities and all citizens are encouraged to do so with the products that enter the sewerage system.
“Until we have funding for treatment plants that can return water without synthetic chemicals into rivers or our reticulation system, the current practice seems to be the only affordable way forward that does not severely impact the health of the wildlife.”
By
 MATTHEW HIRSCH
https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/mixed-views-on-sea-report-12297335

Water solutions should be discussed

Byron Herbert, Camps Bay and Clifton Residents’ and Ratepayer’s Association
In making these statements, Ms Limberg, as a City of Cape Town employee, appears to not have all the facts at her disposal, including surprisingly the results of her own marine biologist who she denied quoted his own findings of high levels of pharmaceutical bioaccumulation in the mussels near the Mouille Point Marine Sewage Outfall Point (MOP).
The group of professors from UWC, UCT and Stellenbosch who have been advising CBCRA, have done an intensive study of chemicals and pharmaceuticals found in Granger Bay, and interestingly enough just published their scientific findings in the November edition of the South African Journal of Science, which supplies undisputed evidence of the chemical and pharmaceutical concerns.
It would therefore be highly unprofessional and morally incorrect for CBCRA, knowing the severity of these public health concerns, not to make the general public aware of the potential health risks associated with desalinating from Granger Bay.
From what we are being told, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) report is a collaboration of the City of Cape Town taking and testing samples, and the CSIR reporting on the results as furnished to them by the City of Cape Town, rather than the CSIR doing the entire process themselves.
This is therefore not only questionable from an independent study perspective, but we are told the report is indeed only a “snapshot” of a much larger problem.
In addition, this report was completed purely for the requirements of a new permit application to discharge sewage into the sea, via the MOP and it therefore it is not nearly sufficient enough to draw conclusions for the long term health risks associated with desalination from this area.
The concern remains that under the banner “Emergency Relief, no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required, and as such in Ms Limberg’s words “there is no acute risk” to consumers (ie Immediate risk eg. food poisoning ).
However, what is not being commented on is the chronic risk (ie long-term risk, eg cancer) associated with bioaccumulation that the folk digesting water containing trace amounts of chemicals and pharmaceuticals would be potentially exposed to.
The elephant in the room that is yet to be understood, is what the additional impact of the highly toxic waste created from desalination known as brine will be.
We are told the brine is going to be pumped back through the same MOP, and thereby create a bizarre cyclical marine environment, of a potentially ever – increasing toxicity, from which water is being drawn for immediate pumping into our drinking water supply network.
Much is being said about this particular concern, and it would be refreshing if the City of Cape Town would agree to engage in an open professional forum to sit around the table to brainstorm problems and find sustainable solutions together.
In the meantime we can be thankful that our media has understood the severity of the concerns, and is sharing it with the public at large.

By letter to the editor
https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/water-solutions-should-be-discussed-12297337

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 https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/renaming-planned-12205140

Blue Heritage Plaque



■ Camps Bay Primary School’s Preparatory School building was recently awarded Blue Heritage Plaque status. A plaque was unveiled at a special assembly on Monday November 27. The architecturally significant stone building, designed in 1913 by E A Cook for the Camps Bay Public School (founded 1906), has survived as one of the few heritage buildings in Camps Bay during times of rapid change and development. Pictured are Grade 1 and 2 pupils, Camps Bay Primary School principal Stuart Collier; head of the Camps Bay Preparatory School Campus Linda Murray; and chairperson of the Simon van der Stel Foundation, Ian Pretorius.

By Atlantic Sun
https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/blue-heritage-plaque-12205137

No more fireworks at Maiden’s Cove

    Maidens Cove will no longer be one of the designated fireworks sites.

Maiden’s Cove in Camps Bay will no longer be a designated place for fireworks to be set off after a motion was submitted to sub-council.
The matter was discussed at a recent Ward 54 committee meeting.
The move has been supported by various role-players, citing safety as the biggest reason for supporting the decision. Maiden’s Cove has been a designated fireworks site in the city for more than a decade.
The site has been used for fireworks on certain special events such as Diwali, Guy Fawkes as well as New Year’s Eve.
Ward 54 councillor Shayne Ramsay said the request to remove the area as a designated site was made by the Bungalow Owners’ Association.
“Each time fireworks come up for discussion, I receive a number of complaints about the fire risk they cause and the potential risk of injury to children and animals.
“The Bungalow Owners’ Association in particular submitted a request to have Maiden’s Cove removed as a site due to the fire risk to their wooden bungalows, particularly during the drought.”
She said that the motion was unanimously supported at sub-council on Monday November 20.
“We will be holding a meeting with key City officials to determine whether or not an additional site is required. The news was welcomed by ward committee members,” said Ms Ramsay.
Nele Vermaak, chairperson of the Bungalow Owners’ Association, said they were happy with the outcome.
She said that while everyone enjoyed fireworks it was a question of discharging it safely. “In a severe drought and during the windy season, it is just not safe to have it anywhere near wooden structures.”
Ms Vermaak added that the association had received a lot of complaints regarding the matter. She said there have also been incidents where children had been hurt.
According to Ms Vermaak, with vegetation being close to the site, it just didn’t make sense for fireworks to be allowed there, particularly after the recent fire in Camps Bay at the 12 Apostles hotel. “There are safer spaces to have it such as the V&A Waterfront,” she said.
Chris Willemse, chairperson of the Camps Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CBRRA), said they supported the decision. “It is just too dangerous with green belts being near the site and it is incredibly disturbing for animals. We’re happy to hear that (the site) has been taken away.”
He said the few moments of joy from fireworks were not worth the stress that it caused animals.
Mr Willemse agreed with Ms Vermaak, saying that the V&A Waterfront site would be a more suitable venue.
By
 MATTHEW HIRSCHhttps://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/no-more-fireworks-at-maidens-cove-12205142

Renaming of Little Glen planned


https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/renaming-planned-12205140
November 30, 2017
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.

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 https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Local/Peoples-Post/have-a-say-on-little-glen-20171127

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 Facebook.com/SaveCapeTown 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, 2 November 2017

Tribunal lashed


Camps Bay residents are considering legal action against the City of Cape Town’s Municipal Planning Tribunal.
This comes after a recent decision by the tribunal relating to title deeds on a property in the suburb.
The Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA) says there is a lack of transparency when it comes to decision-making by the tribunal.
This is not the first time a decision made by the tribunal, established in 2015, has been met with criticism.
CBCRA chair Chris Willemse said they had instructed the association’s legal team to consider the merits of bringing an application before the Western Cape High Court to review, and have set aside the decision.
Mr Willemse said the owner had applied to have the property rezoned from single residential, to allow multiple units to be built on the property. He did not want to divulge the address of the property.
“It is common cause among all civic groupings in Cape Town that the DA-led City panders to the development industry and that the relationship is certainly not in the interests of property owners and ratepayers in the city.”
Mr Willemse also accused the tribunal and the City of favouring big developers when it came to making decisions. “The City argues that it cannot control the influx of people into the city, which is true. However, the emphasis on allowing huge upmarket developments, which result in rich pickings for the development industry, only puts additional stress on the already strained supply system (water, roads etc) without really dealing with the actual housing problems on the ground.
“Of course, upmarket development is where the money is – so there one finds the politicians and their fellow travellers.”
Mr Willemse said that the title deed conditions of a property were considered as real rights and therefore could not be removed without due process or compensation.
Osman Shaboodien, chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association, said he fully supported the actions taken by the CBCRA. He agreed with Mr Willemse that decisions made by the tribunal favoured developers rather than residents.
He added that the BKCRA had been before the tribunal three times recently and that all decisions had gone against the people of Cape Town. “The biggest challenge that we have with the tribunal is that it is a biased body. It is all about a push to further the coffers.”
Mr Shaboodien also suggested that the Public Protector investigate the tribunal. “All of the decisions were stacked against the people of Cape Town. It is time that the people of Cape Town stand together and take a stand.”
He said decisions needed to be made neutral and benefit all people in Cape Town and not just a wealthy minority.
Dave Daniels, chairperson of the Municipal Planning Tribunal, welcomed any action by the CBCRA, adding that the association was fully within its rights to challenge any decision of the tribunal – via an appeal, or if that fails, in a court of law. “I support such applications because these assist to ensure that the tribunal makes decisions that are not only fair, but also legally sound.”
Mr Daniels added that all objections into a matter bought before the tribunal were taken into account. “When the tribunal decides against an objection it does not mean that objections were not taken cognisance of.
“The tribunal has refused a number of applications based, among others, on the reasonableness of objections made against applications.”
The tribunal meets every Tuesday at 10am and meetings are open to the public. “Any member of the media and the public is welcome to attend the meetings and then judge for themselves whether we conduct our business in a fair manner.”

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Battle for Clifton land continues



https://www.atlanticsun.co.za/news/battle-for-clifton-land-11550157

October 12, 2017
Residents and ratepayers are adamant that the battle for a piece of public land in Clifton, worth around R1 billion, is not over.
This comes after the City of Cape Town announced that the tender to develop on the site had been awarded last week.
The controversial tender for development on the prime public land was advertised in March last year after a series of public meetings.
The City said that according to the tender documents the bidder K2015298271 has two shareholders – Vunani Mion Properties Pty Ltd and Tobie Mynhardt Properties CC.
Brett Herron, Mayco committee member for transport and urban development, said that K2015298271 offered the highest bid. The second highest bid was from Maiden’s Cove Properties Limited (R766.5 million) while the third highest bid was submitted by Farlo Touch Edms
(R683 21 million). “The City of Cape Town advertised the tender for the development of the City-owned land between the Clifton bungalows and Camps Bay in March last year.”
Mr Herron also said that the City would use 10% of the financial offer – thus approximately R100 million – for affordable and inclusionary housing projects on well-located land in the inner-city. “We are in the process of auditing and assessing City-owned land that could be used for this purpose. We will be able to provide more details once we have identified suitable land parcel(s), needless to say these will be situated close to work and public transport.”
The City said the Immovable Property Adjudication Committee (IPAC) had awarded an approximately R1 billion tender for the development of the Clifton Precinct to K2015298271 South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
According to the City of Cape Town, development in the area would see an improvement on public space in the area which they say is currently degraded.
However, residents and ratepayers in the area disagree. Chris Willemse, chairman of the Camps Bay Ratepayers’ Association, criticised the public participation process. “It was always going to be announced,” he said.
Mr Willemse added that the matter would be discussed with the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance to discuss the best way forward and whether to take legal action.
He also said that he was concerned that any development at Maiden’s Cove will mean it becomes an exclusive area. “This was one beach on the Atlantic Seaboard that wasn’t touched and it was wonderful. De Lille is selling prime City assets to her friends. It is going to be a long battle and we are not going to take this lying down. We will fight for the interests of the city as a whole,” added Mr Willemse.
Len Swimmer, deputy chairman of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, also criticised the public participation process. “It was a sham and a farce,” said Mr Swimmer. “It is very, very frustrating.”
He added that the ratepayers’ comments weren’t taken into account by the City during the public participation phase. He added that further legal action was likely and the matter was on the agenda for the organisation’s next meeting on Saturday October 14.
Mark Jackson, who started the Save Cape Town group in response to the matter last year, said he felt disappointed with the outcome. “There are lots of questions that need to be raised and the timing of it seems quite strange,” he said.
Mr Jackson , also started a “Save Maiden’s Cove” petition last year, which has more than 2 000 signatures. “There is a pattern developing where the ratepayers are having to fight their own City council. The City is using ratepayers’ money against them in court and that seems absurd.”
He said the City also have said how issues such as traffic and sewage would be affected by the proposed development. “There is going to be a very strong push back against this and it is not over.”
Citing the stopping of commercialisation at Princess Vlei and the Sea Point Promenade in recent years, he added: “There is hope in people power.”
Clifton resident and former Constitutional Court judge, Albie Sachs, said the announcement about the successful bidder appeared to come out of the blue. “A lot of it seems to have been done back to front. There should have been environmental impact assessment and traffic reports done.The main concern relates to the lack of clarity in which it’s been done. It is a piece of public land of great scenic and historic significance that will be privatised.”
Judge Sachs stressed, again, that it was vital that Maiden’s Cover be protected. “Maiden’s Cove is so special in our history that it should have been the start of any programme and not an add on. It looks like the main thrust of the project is to build houses and a hotel.”
Meanwhile, activist organisation, Ndifuna Ukwazi, said that if Clifton Precinct is suitable for development, then it is suitable for the development of affordable housing.
In a statement, the organisation said: “We welcome the R100 million contribution to affordable and inclusionary housing projects and look forward to seeing the City immediately open a public participation process – this is entirely necessary. We want to see it being spent on new developments and not these most recent commitments for Woodstock, Salt River and the inner city. Instead, we want to see housing on the Atlantic Seaboard where workers in the area enjoy the same breathtaking views as their wealthier counterparts.”
Mr Herron said that the City had received eight tenders in total. “A thorough and rigorous supply chain management process was followed. This included a due diligence process conducted by external auditors. A statutory appeal period of 21 days is now under way, allowing those bidders who have been unsuccessful the right to appeal the outcome of the process.
“The City-owned land between the Clifton bungalows and Camps Bay is approximately 16ha in size, of which 5ha has now been made available to the successful bidder,” said Mr Herron.
He also said that claims that comments the City received during the public participation process weren’t taken into account were incorrect. “The draft plans were amended to take some of the concerns into account. The public will be provided with further opportunities to comment on the detail designs when the development application(s) are submitted. The planning processes and required statutory public participation for the development of the site will take place in accordance with the Municipal Planning By-law and Municipal Finance Management Act.”
Development at the site is set to include two pockets of single residential developments consisting of 52 residential stands, a boutique hotel or serviced apartment site consisting of 3 500 m², a commercial component (restaurants and retail) consisting of 5 000 m², a mixed-use component (offices, studios, apartments) consisting of 2 250 m² as well as an underground parking facility consisting of approximately 725 parking bays.
Mr Herron added: “The cost of the investment in the upgrading of existing public infrastructure and the construction of new public infrastructure will be funded by the City. The proposed development will rejuvenate the surrounding area; improve public access to the beach, ocean and recreational facilities; protect the natural vegetation; enhance local and international tourism potential; and unlock investment to drive job creation.”
The City added that the “planning processes and required statutory public participation for the development of the site will take place in accordance with the Municipal Planning By-law and Municipal Finance Management Act.”