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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

AGM 2020 Chair's report

Good evening and welcome to the 2020 AGM of the CBCRA in a year which has proved to be quite wild and damaging. 

As always, thanks to Maree Brink, Johannes Lategan and The Bay Hotel for the generous use of the facilities and especially to Bianca Verster and her team for putting the show together tonight. A special thanks to Alma Horn for arranging and managing the audio-visual side of the evening.

Tonight there will not be a table for the payment of subs due to the potential threat of the virus. It would be appreciated if you do your payments online. 

Tonight, we will dispense with all but the most important business of an AGM, so I apologise for the prospect of a rather stark meeting but a quicker meeting and opportunity to get home in time for supper is a good alternative.

We welcome our local ward councillor, Nicola Jowell. She will give a report-back tonight after which you, the ratepayers of Camps Bay, will have an opportunity to address her on issues that are of concern to you.

Firstly, may I please have any apologies for tonight’s meeting.

Apologies which have already been received will be posted with the minutes of this meeting

Also, we need to confirm the minutes of the previous AGM, held on the 9th September 2019. Proposer and seconder?

Councillor’s report: Nicola Jowell 

Chair’s report:

As mentioned, I will only give the bullet points and encourage you to follow developments on the website. Also, Manco members will gladly discuss any matter more fully after the meeting.

Parking on the beachfront: This initiative, which was supported at our last meeting is still being held up by City bureaucracy. However, it would appear as if the public participation phase should be starting soon. It will only include beachfront parking. That’s exactly as reported last year, so one can gauge the speed and efficiency of the City. However, the various groupings in Camps Bay such as the CBCSI, Neighbourhood Watch and others have initiated their own plan and this has resulted in the Blue Team of car guards on the beachfront. CBCRA’s Theresa Massaglia, who dedicates so much time and effort to positively assisting the homeless on the beachfront will address you shortly on this matter.

Valuations: The GV2018 property valuation cycle by the City has, again, thrown up many problems. The CBCRA wants to partner with the Greater Cape Town Civic alliance (GCTCA) to unpack what appears to be a very skewed system, which is certainly not in the favour of owners of property along the Atlantic Seaboard. As we will be dealing with other organisations, it is important that we have a mandate from our members to pursue this matter and a show of hands in support will be necessary. 

Plastics: Bianca Krafft has done sterling work as the Manco member dealing with this dangerous and contaminating pollutant. Unfortunately, due to study commitments, she has decided to step down from the Manco, hopefully only until she completes her studies. Bianca’s efforts and enthusiasm will be sorely missed.

Marine Outfall Plant: The CBCRA continues to oppose the City regarding the millions of litres of raw sewerage that it pumps into the bay at Camps Bay on a daily basis. As reported previously, the City continues to deny any damage to the environment and is satisfied that the system of dumping pollutants into the sea is sustainable despite the contrary opinion and established facts by all academics in this field. The CBCRA hopes to have other groupings on board in opposing the destruction of the natural environment by the City, which not only includes the Camps Bay MOP but also that of Mouille Point and Hout Bay and the wetlands and lagoon in Milnerton at Flamingo Vlei.

Cell masts: As previously reported, the City planners have allowed almost unrestricted installation of microwave equipment in Camps Bay. Probably the worst case is the Marine Heights block in Upper Tree Rd. The CBCRA has been making representations to the planning authorities for years now, without success. The CBCRA advised affected neighbours to take this matter to the High Court, which is the only institution that can force the City to properly govern, and a case has now been brought before the Western Cape High Court by an affected neighbour to have this illegal equipment removed. Delaying tactics have been in operation but the application should be heard in February 2021. In the meantime, Telkom has removed its antennae and units – but Cell-C and Vodacom continue to contest the matter.

Constitution: An issue has been raised regarding the effective tenure of the chair and vice-chair of the Manco and, by extension, the CBCRA. The Constitution purportedly restricts the period to 3 years but as there have been no volunteers for the positions, Richard Bendel and I have continued to fill the posts. It is also our legal advice that the exact meaning of this clause is not precise and that, in any event, nothing turns on the continued voluntary filling of these positions. The Manco will take further legal advice on this matter and ensure that our governance remains true to the constitution of the Association. Clearly, there is no malfeasance in the CBCRA’s actions and the situation has arisen due to a lack of volunteers rather than any desire to continue holding a position by either Richard or myself. Of course, all could be resolved by any person, duly elected, volunteering for the positions!

Theatre on the Bay: Manco’s Johan van Papendorp has been relentless in dealing with the City in this project by the Theatre on the Bay to upgrade the precinct and provide additional parking. To date, the old electrical substation in Link St has been demolished and a new substation built next to the police station. Work to the proposed piazza on the seaside of Link Street is underway. The site will incorporate the war memorial and add a special space to the area. Our thanks to Johan for his tireless efforts and the support of Pieter Toerien of the Theatre on the Bay.

Maidens Cove development: It was reported at the last meeting that although the City claimed that it had “listened to the people of Cape Town” and abandoned its proposed development of Maidens Cove, Mayor Dan Plato had confirmed to the CBCRA that it was on the cards again. Basically, too much money around the development for the DA-led City to ignore! As previously stated, the CBCRA, along with the CBOA and the Maidens Cove for All group, will keep a close eye on this proposal and will remain prepared to counter any land-grab threat to the suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton from the City of Cape Town.

Beachfront Social Issues and Actions:

Theresa Massaglia. I would also like to thank Alan Marsh, the CPF Chair and Peter Cooksen of the City’s Social Development branch for all their efforts in dealing with these seemingly intractable issues.

Planning:

I’ve highlighted a few current items but more information can be found on the website – or by contacting me directly.

Hotel on the beachfront: The application for a 101-room hotel on the Place on the Bay site, which received 76 individual objections, was approved by the Municipal Planning tribunal. The CBCRA call to the community to assist in opposing this application received tremendous support and over R80k in donations. Currently, we have an extremely well-prepared appeal against this decision before the Mayor and, judging by the time that the City is taking to respond and place it on the Appeal Panel’s agenda, there must be something about which it is very concerned. Our thanks to attorney Leon van Rensburg for his expertise in this matter.

5 The Meadway: This matter was heard in the Western Cape High Court today. Currently, the newly constructed building on the site has been interdicted from any further work or occupation. The application is to set aside the planning permission from the City and seek the demolition of certain illegal portions of the building. The conduct of certain City officials in facilitating the illegal work is also being highlighted to the Court.

96 Camps Bay Drive: This matter is also a longstanding issue. A couple of years back, the CBCRA successfully applied to the High Court for an order setting aside the City-approved plans. The developer re-submitted plans to which the CBCRA and neighbours objected. As always, the MPT simply approved the new application and the CBCRA has appealed this decision to the Mayor’s Appeal Panel. Again, the slowness of the City in getting this onto an agenda is telling, and we thank Leon van Rensburg for his strong legal appeal.

In general, it would appear as if the MPT regard the praedial restrictive rights in our title deeds as mere annoyances and remove them at will. The CBCRA is researching the history of all applications to detail the arbitrary nature of the MPT’s actions. If the City shows no interest in this undermining of our property rights, we will consider a legal challenge.

Election of Office Bearers:

As mentioned, Bianca Krafft has resigned from the Manco and we wish her well with her studies next year and our thanks go to her for her efforts over the past years.

Helet Merkling, who dealt with Clifton matters has also stepped down due to her commitments to the proposed Clifton SRA. Helet’s willingness to engage in all civic matters and her specialised legal knowledge have been a great asset to the CBCRA.

Brenda Herbert has resigned from the Manco after many years of dedicated service for which we are all grateful.

Byron Herbert has resigned from the Manco and the CBCRA. 

All other members currently serving on your Manco have agreed to remain for the following year.

On the positive side, the CBCRA Manco has welcomed two new members to its ranks: 

Chris von Ulmenstein, who will be spearheading our journey into an effective social media presence, which will give the ratepayers of Camps Bay a constant update of happenings in the area and allow for proper interaction. Chris is probably well known to many of you and has, for the past while, been busy with the general state of the lower reaches of Camps Bay – from personally cleaning streams and problem areas to working closely with Cllr Jowell.

Chris Marshall also joins the Manco. Chris will be dealing with the governance in the City along with other civic groupings who are addressing the many issues regarding the administration of the City. 

I wish to express my personal gratitude to all these hard-working and selfless individuals who freely give of their time to protect the uniqueness of our beautiful village and suburb. I’m sure that all present here tonight will join me in thanking the Manco.

As always, new members are welcome and there is a great variety of tasks to tackle. 

Thank you

Chris Willemse

Camps Bay & Clifton Ratepayers’ Association Chair


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