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Saturday, 28 August 2010

CBRRA asks you to come and plant a tree!

The Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) invites you to join it at its tree planting ceremony at 11-00 am on Saturday 4 September 2010 in The Little Glen in Camps Bay for about 30 minutes.

Come and join us in celebrating the arrival of Spring, by planting a tree so that we can give thanks to mother nature for supplying us with the means to clean our air and green our environment.

This will be a special day, when Council Officials and Councillors will grace us with their presence to illustrate their commitment to our beautiful environment.

The Police, those involved in the safety and security of Camps Bay and people representing the community at large, be it representatives from the Scouts, Camps Bay schools, Churches and especially Friends of The Little Glen will be joining us to also show their support and appreciation of this important occasion generated by Richard Dames of CBRRA.

CBRRA looks forward to seeing you there and hopes that this will be the forerunner of similar annual tree planting initiatives in the future.

CBRRA sincerely thanks the Camps Bay residents who donated the necessary funds to pay the Council labour which will be necessary on the day. Should you wish to similarly donate a tree, CBBRA will be most grateful.

See you there !

Atlantic Sun - The Crystal 5 August 2010

Reply letter (see Thomas Geh letter below)

It is a fact of life that when an organisation or individual stands up for the rights of the people, certain disaffected individuals will attempt to vilify their public spirited efforts. South Africa has a long, often sad, legacy of this.

Mr Geh has been running a long standing personal vendetta against the CBRRA, in general, and me in particular, to which the many residents of Camps Bay who have received his unsolicited defamatory e-mails will attest.

Indeed, Geh served for a long period on the CBRRA Manco - but was required to leave the planning portfolio many years ago due to the conflicts of interest that frequently arose with his own projects.

However, CBRRA is not interested in being drawn down into his mudslinging match and responds to his comments as follows:
The CBRRA certainly supports sensible, sensitive and sustainable development. This is policy. The fact that it has brokered over 100 agreements between Applicants and Affected Neighbours for new development, bears testimony to this. There is not another ratepayer organisation that is so pro-active.

The Cape Town Stadium in Green Point falls outside the sphere of influence of CBRRA. Whether the billions spent on this magnificent stadium and precinct can be justified, will remain a moot point.

The fact that Troben Heights was in a poor condition does not, in any way, condone the illegal structure that the City has now allowed to be built on the site. A well designed, legal building would have been just fine.

Geh is wrong when he claims that this large building complies with the Zoning Scheme and title deed restrictions.

It is a complete non sequitur that developers will not develop legal structures that the community accepts. But they will push the envelope for financial gain if possible - and it is the ratepayer organisations throughout the City that must guard against this. The City do not, in our experience, protect community rights.

As an example, the CBRRA made it a condition of approval that the roof of the Geh-designed block at the top of Geneva Drive be lower than the adjoining sidewalk on Camps Bay Drive at any point. Without CBRRA intervention, the exquisite viewline from the Camps Bay Drive would have been broken. However, a developer has been prepared to accept the requirements of the community and the completed building is to the satisfaction of all parties

Insofar as my house is concerned, Geh's 2 year long tirade needs to be put in context:
  • The approved plans comply with the coverage requirements
  • It is a 3-storey building with a basement which is completely legal. Given the steep site and that the building is only 2 storeys at any point (in fact, 1 storey in over 50% of the erf), a further storey would be legal,
  • At the time of plan approval (2004), there was no restriction on a pool being built in the setback area.
  • The City refused to police the "built upon" area at that time. As this title deed condition is actually in favour of my neighbours, I obtained their approval for this indulgence prior to plan submission to the City, which is what the CBRRA encourages.
  • There are no building line encroachments, hence the planning approval.
Geh's architectural planning applications almost always draw fierce resistance from affected neighbours, for the manifold reasons enumerated in their various letters of objection. This is not the doing of the CBRRA and that situation will not be changed by Geh launching personal attacks on the CBRRA or individual members.

Chris Willemse's reply (CBRRA PLANNING)


Letter to the Atlantic Sun, 5 August 2010:

Regarding the Camps Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CBRRA) letter “Crystal clear”, Atlantic Sun, July 29.
I have been a Camps Bay resident and architect since 1971, was an active member of the CBRRA and I am fully aware of the ongoing developmental calamities, drama and bickering in our suburb.

Ratepayer and civic associations can play a very important role and have done good work in several fields. However many members and often unelected activists are conservative individuals who simply can't accept change and would prefer to turn the clock back to the “good old days”, but the rest of us know that urban renewal and densification is essential. Typical case: the Green Point Stadium and Urban Park. First court cases, demonstrations and now praise by the same antagonists.

Here in Camps Bay we now have the Crystal case, amongst others, where Chris Willemse for the CBRRA has now for months complained about all the “illegalities” approved by the City and the construction by the “greedy” developers (see CBRRA blog page) who want to line their pockets with gold as is often claimed by objectors.

Several years ago I designed the four town houses next door (29 Woodford Avenue) and had to get the consent of the neighbours and CBRRA for the four units and had to also consider the Crystal site conditions.

At that stage the old flats known as Trauben Heights was already a rundown, dilapidated building with no gardens, unkempt embankment with half dead and burned alien shrubs, rocks and no pavement. CBRRA and neighbours complained over years to the owners and the City without success. It is also a fact that the old flats were on a level platform well above the street more or less where the current new ground floor is. The parking basement was largely excavated into the embankment. Furthermore the zoning scheme permits 2.10m fill above the original natural level. Whatever Mr Willemse's argument, the new embankments and retaining walls are a vast improvement over the past situation. When in a few years the plants have grown and cover the ground and walls the previously unattractive streetscape will certainly be an enhancement to the built environment. Yes, the building is large, but this is what the title deed and zoning scheme permits, so why bash the developer and the City? Without developers we would not have rental accommodation, no work, no jobs.

Mr Willemse's vendetta against developers, the City and individuals like myself is the height of hypocrisy when viewed against his own development at 13 Blinkwater Road Camps Bay where he started to build his own four-floor development, the top floor in front of his previous house terrace behind which he sold. The development exceeds permissible coverage, the building lines are encroached and structures built on the street boundary are in conflict with the title deed and applicable law. It also seems that in this case the plans were approved erroneously.

Instead of looking at the Crystal pavement, as Chris suggests, have a look at his interdicted development.

A person like that should not judge others! Apart from this Medburn Road, Woodford Ave and others to a large extent do not have accessible pedestrian pavements. There are also not many mothers in Camps Bay pushing prams, but Mr Willemse is on a Robin Hood ego trip and should get real for the benefit of his CBRRA and all of us.

I also think The Crystal looks a bit oversized, but very much better than the old ugly flats in Camps Bay. The CBRRA should use their scarce resources and the empty “war kitty” in a more proactive manner elsewhere.

Good luck with that!

Thomas Geh, Camps Bay architect

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Dogwalking Survey results


A very large proportion of residents in Camps Bay own dogs and love to take them out for exercise, but these dog walks have become a pain to dog owners rather than a pleasure thanks to the enforcement of the bylaw against dogs off leash. Problem is that many of the dogs in Camps Bay are medium to large dogs. They are not lapdogs. They are part of our security system. They need more exercise than what a normal middle-aged person can give them on leash. Frankly, they need somewhere where they can run free, meet other dogs, play, splash in the sea and generally enjoy themselves. We owe it to them.

CBRRA understands that the enjoyment of the use of the beach by people who do not own dogs must also be ensured, in a manner by means of which dog owners and the remainder of the beach going population can be equally and fairly catered for. CBRRA has therefore evolved a solution which it considers will amicably solve the existing ongoing problem. As proposed at CBRRA's public meeting on 16 March 2010, it wishes to take a proposal to the Ward Forum for consideration and hopefully submission to the Sub-council for approval. The issue will be discussed with City Council officials, but firstly we needed to assess the reaction of the community.

• We ran a survey through our blog. This was advertised on our blog and in the Atlantic Sun.
SUMMER: 01 November to 30 April
a. Dogs only on leashes - 6 pm to 5 am
b. Dogs not on leashes - 5 am to 9 am
c. No dogs allowed on beach - 9 am to 6 pm.

WINTER: 01 May to 31 October
d. Dogs only on leashes – 3 pm to 6 am
e. Dogs not on leashes - 6 am to 11 am
f. No dogs allowed on beach - 11 am to 3 pm

As a further initiative we also gauged your reaction to the following proposal:
All areas except The Glen picnic area: 
The Glen picnic area: 
b. ON LEASH: Saturday & Sunday 12h00 to sunset.
c. OFF LEASH: All hours except the abovementioned.

• A total of 142 responses were received.
• Although 118 responses were in favour of YES TO ALL of our proposal, many residents showed a negative reaction to any dog off leash at any time due to an experience with a dog owner who was unable to manage their dog off leash. We urge you to take other residents into consideration while walking your dog and to be a responsible dog owner.

We will submit our proposal at the next Ward Forum for consideration.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

AGM 2010 Agenda

CBRRA ‘s Annual General Meeting
Thursday 19 August 2010 @ 19h30

Chairperson’s Report
Approval of 2009 AGM Minutes
Election of ManCo Members for 2010 of 2011
Speaker: Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold (CEO Cape Tourism)
Speaker: Leigh Goldschmidt (CB Community Medics)
Finance Report
Approval of Annual Financial Statements 31 Dec ‘09
Speaker: Councillor Marga Haywood
Rates & New Municipal Boundary
Speaker: Roger Trythall (Ensuring Energy Security )
Read all about the presentation ‹‹here››
Dogwalking Survey Feedback
Other Matters
Questions from the floor

READ all about CBRRA's ACHIEVEMENTS over the last year.

Friday, 6 August 2010


  • Worked together in a successful communal effort with several other Camps Bay civic organisations in Dec 2009 to get illegal ‘changing rooms’ removed from the grass verges.
  • Assisted in obtaining large rates repayments for CBRRA members from excessive rate assessments.
  • Removed unsightly and illegal signs on a continuous basis.
  • Assisted with the clean up of The Glen, The Little Glen and public spaces in Camps Bay.
  • Ran survey amongst community members regarding their views on Dogwalking, the result of which is to be proposed at the next Ward meeting for inclusion in the new by-law.
  • Ongoing servitudes prepared to enable fair and amicable legally enforceable agreements between neighbours, builders and developers, thereby encouraging positive and sympathetic redevelopment.
  • Founder member of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA) which brings problems within the City Council Planning and Rates departments to the attention of politicians and City Council officialdom and assists ratepayers associations in their dealings with Municipal, Provincial and National governmental affairs.
  • Alerted the City Parks to cut verges later, enabling the ‘fynbos’ to bloom and reseed.
  • Assisted Auctioneers and the Heritage Committee to ensure the protection of the Stone Cottages in Geneva Drive, icons of Camps Bay heritage, when they were put up for auction and threatened with unsuitable redevelopment.
  • Ensured that events proposed for Camps Bay, especially during seasonal holidays along the beachfront, would not prevent residents from the peaceful enjoyment of their properties while still encouraging the lively and friendly ambiance of Camps Bay as a holiday destination.
  • Prompted the City Council to finally offer free trees and shrubs for planting in Camps Bay’s public spaces.
  • Assisted Camps Bay Schools campus in their ongoing attempts to obtain new leases of a suitable length for their playing fields.
  • Supported the CB Community Medics, including cash donations.
  • Representation on the CB Community Police Forum and Liquor Licensing Committee.
  • CBRRA registered as a Non-Profit Organisation.
  • Enforced the previous government to allow Camps Bay to be a mixed race beach – the first in South Africa in the 1980s – within two years all beaches in the country were mixed.
  • Persuaded the City Council:
    – to limit buildings to not exceed 10m high above ground level to eaves level after the erection of Sonnekus Flats in the 1970s;
    – to demolish the civic centre in the 1980s;
    – to expropriate the Rotunda Hotel and Ballroom and to preserve the latter;
    – to compile the proposal call for a new village centre and hotel and assisted in the adjudication and monitor the construction.
  • Initiated the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and created the master design for the redevelopment of Camps Bay main beach in 2001. Continue to incentivise City Council to carry out the uncompleted redevelopment plan of the beachfront.
  • Monitoring the EIA process and controlling the development of the Roundhouse site together with Friends of the Glen.
  • Initiated the construction by City Council of amenities buildings at Maidens Cove beach.
  • Arranged for City Council to convert one east / west soccer field to two north / south fields at the sports club.
  • Resisted multiple applications for shopping centres, parking basements, cinemas and other development under the soccer field.
  • Won four court cases against City Council resulting in amendments to the zoning scheme.
  • Assisted in the responses to the proposed new Integrated Zoning Scheme since 2001.
  • Motivated City Council to erect a lifesaver’s hut on main beach, monitor design and building.
  • After killings of pedestrians by motorists in Victoria Road, CBRRA motivated Council to erect pedestrian zebra crossings and initiated their maintenance.

AGM Agenda

CBRRA ‘s Annual General Meeting
Thursday 19 August 2010 @ 19h30

Chairperson’s Report
Approval of 2009 AGM Minutes
Election of ManCo Members for 2010 of 2011
Speaker: Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold (CEO Cape Tourism)
Speaker: Leigh Goldschmidt (CB Community Medics)
Finance Report
Approval of Annual Financial Statements 31 Dec ‘09
Speaker: Councillor Marga Haywood
Rates & New Municipal Boundary
Speaker: Roger Trythall (Ensuring Energy Security )
Dogwalking Survey Feedback
Other Matters
Questions from the floor

READ all about CBRRA's ACHIEVEMENTS over the last year.