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Monday, 28 February 2022

Camps Bay marine outfall causes a stink

 The Camps Bay marine outfall plant caused a stench last Friday as an electrical fault rendered its pumps ineffective and resulted in the flooding of the pump station.

The hoses were connected to the marine outfall plant on the left and dragged across the beach into the water.

Camps Bay beach, Glen beach as well as the Camps Bay and Maidens Cove tidal pools had to be closed to the public.

On Saturday, the Atlantic Sun saw a few swimmers and surfers enter the water despite the warning of the lifeguards.

Last year the Atlantic Sun reported on a similar incident when a collapsed collector sewer produced an overflow, Seaboard sewage concerns, September 2, 2021.

The City’s water and sanitation teams attempted to use vacuum trucks to dispose the waste, but due to the huge volume the sewage had to be discharged from the pump station out to sea as a temporary measure.

Filmmaker Mark Jackson created a short documentary, Bay of Sewage in 2016; which emphasises the Atlantic seaboard’s effluent problem.

“Is there really that much difference between the sewage being on the beach, or being pumped out 24/7 just 700m from Maidens Cove where it can easily wash back to shore? We need an entire rethink of the system, not mere short-term bandage solutions. Here we dump effectively-raw sewage just 700m, at a depth of about 20m. We need a new plan, urgently,” he said.

According the City’s water quality ratings at recreational nodes conducted on January 21, Camps Bay has an excellent rating, with the Enterococci count being 3 per 100ml, while nearby Glen beach is rated poor with a measurement of 100 per 100ml.

“From a health perspective, the beaches are closely monitored and in the event of equipment failures, the City’s incident management protocol is activated to minimise any potential health impact on persons making use of the beaches that may be affected,” said Patricia van der Ross, mayoral committee member for community services and health.

“The protocol includes the temporary installation of warning signage, media releases, additional samples and closure of the affected beaches if necessary,” said Ms Van der Ross.

Visitors were not allowed to walk about this area.

Dr Jo Barnes, senior lecturer emeritus in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, says she is disappointed at how the City managed this dilemma.

“One would think that a city like Cape Town would be much better geared to coping with breakages and spills than this. Dumping sewage spills into the environment in this manner is not acceptable. There have been several reports in the media of the City’s serious under spending of their water and sanitation budget over the last few years. The neglect of the sanitation infrastructure of the City is starting to become visible in many, many places. The effect on the health of the population and the environment will take years to overcome. Disposing of such an amount of sewerage by pumping it into the nearest water course simply tips the consequences onto others who are unable to defend themselves or get accountability from those who made this decision,” said Dr Barnes.

Eddie Andrews, the mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, says the City is aware of the inconvenience caused to the public.

Mr Andrews added that the City had put in place a number of measures to ensure public health and safety which included:

• Cordoning off the area with danger tape to prevent people from entering the water;

• Requesting City Law Enforcement and Lifesavers to patrol the beach and advise the public not to enter the water;

• Discharge the sewage directly into the sea to reduce, as far as possible, any beach contamination and to allow wave action/current to rapidly assimilate contaminated water;

• Issuing a media release advising the public of the closure of Camps Bay beach and surrounds. The message was also posted on the City’s social media platforms;

• Use of a drone to track the sewage plume and the use of this to information for management decisions;

• The collection of water samples to track water quality improvement and to determine when beaches may be open for swimming again; and

• Actively monitoring the beach on site to determine whether any other interventions were required.

Sewage water gushing out of a hose.

Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA) chairperson Chris Willemse says it’s a disgrace that marine outfall plants (MOP) are still in use.

“The absolute irony of the situation is that the City have reacted to the emergency with great speed and resources but fail to comprehend that when this marine outfall plant is repaired, it is simply pumping the same (millions) of litres of raw sewerage, every day, a few hundred meters further into the bay. This intolerable situation has been covered up by officials and politicians alike over the years,” Mr Willemse said.

“Modern plants are not visible above ground nor are they sources of smell and, once in place, say under the sports field in that area, the surface can return to a reasonable normal. Now is the time for the City to enter into meaningful discussions with the community, as it is essential that the City and its citizens should be ensuring that our coastal waters are not polluted,” he said.

Dr Zahid Badroodien, city’s mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, says the long-term solution is to perform a full technical assessment and develop an informed plan to upgrade the outfall plants.

“The overall operating budget for all the outfalls is R38.8million and the overall repairs and maintenance budget is R4.5 million. Failures and breakdowns are unavoidable due to various reasons. These include electrical installations, the pump station’s location close to the sea and power cuts (load-shedding). Pump stations are not meant to operate with frequent stop and start actions due to their sensitive electrical and control components.” Dr Badroodien said.

This hose had holes in it and the sewage water sprayed onto the beach sand.

Article by Shahied Joseph

Community Who Cares is now IGNISIVE

Community who Cares is now IGNISIVE – an organisation with a vision to ignite all sectors of communities to unite with the intention to achieve meaningful positive change.

From Government entities and businesses to citizens, our mission is to shift all stakeholders into action to achieve regeneration and a safer and more secure community for all.
When we unite we can become a force capable of true transformation.

Friday, 18 February 2022

Camps Bay residents call for action against City officials over 'unlawful' rezoning


Camps Bay residents are calling for action against city official(s) involved in the wrongful extension of zoning without any form of public participation on a development in the area after the developers approved zoning for the construction had lapsed. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Camps Bay residents are calling for action against City officials involved in what they say is a wrongful extension of a rezoning application without public participation in the area after the developer’s approved rezoning for construction had allegedly lapsed.

The call comes after the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers Association successfully halted construction at 22 Sedgemoor Road, after it took the fight to the high court. The residents’ association made an application to the court to set aside the planning approval of the building and an interim order was granted in December to halt construction work at Erf 2320.

In a letter sent to ward councillor Nicola Jowell, resident Mark Jackson said developers tried to exploit Camps Bay and often almost got away with it, “perhaps due to certain individual City officials not doing their job of serving the public”.

Jackson said there was a need to rather get to the heart of the matter, and clean up the City’s building-plan approvals department than to constantly tackle developers.

“There’s an alleged massive backlog in the City approving building plans, maybe even longer than a year, so the question is, why are they wasting City resources fighting legal battles, defending their bad decisions, when they have so much other work to do?

One has to wonder, who some City officials think they serve. It is shocking that the kind, charitable folk who give up their time to voluntarily participate in ratepayer associations should have to use their funds to take their City officials to court,” Jackson said.

Camps Bay Ratepayers Association chairperson Chris Willemse said changing developments from single to general residential zoning allowed for ridiculous densification and concreting of the environment. Willemse said the officials must be held accountable.

“The developers’ rezoning application lapsed, and when this happens one applies to the City to extend it. However, in this case, the planning laws changed in 2015-16 and if the rezoning was approved under the previous regime one has to make a full application and the City must re-advertise.

“However, this didn’t happen. We believe that the building is illegal and if the court decides in our favour and sets aside the planning approval, the building must be returned to a single residential,” Willemse said.

Willemse said the residents’ association was not opposed to development in the area but favoured sensible and sustainable development.

Deputy mayor and Spatial Planning and Environment Mayco member Eddie Andrews said the court had not found that the City or its officials did not do their job properly, and had also not ruled the building work to be unlawful.

He said the merits of the extension of the rezoning approval would be dealt with in the review application.

Article by The Cape Argus

Thursday, 17 February 2022

CCT: ERF 196, 5 The Meadway Avenue, Camps Bay. Advertising Notice and Objections.

17 February 2022

Dear Mr Willemse,

The attached notice, which objection is to be submitted by 28 March 2022, refers.  We attach herewith objection form, to be completed and signed by you, as well as an objection form to be completed by the interested parties, at Section C thereof.

We await the signed forms.


Pauline Kleinhans
Secretary to Leon van Rensburg
127 Main Road
Tel: 021-713 2100

Monday, 7 February 2022

Failure of Camps Bay Marine Outfall Plant (MOP)

The temporary collapse of the Marine Outfall Plant (MOP) on Camps Bay beach has highlighted the problems around such operations, which have been repeatedly brought to the City’s attention over many years.

The chaos of this last weekend - and as will be the case in the days to follow - have been well documented on social media and in the press.

The absolute irony of the situation is that the City have reacted to the emergency with great speed and resources but fail to comprehend that when this MOP is repaired, it is simply pumping the same (millions) of litres of raw sewerage/day a few hundred meters further into the bay. This intolerable situation has been covered up by officials and politicians alike over the years.

High level scientific research by Stellenbosch University, UCT and UWC has confirmed that the MOP’s at Hout Bay, Camps Bay and Mouille Point are polluting the local coastal waters and destroying marine life. In fact, many species of marine organisms have already been destroyed.

The previous Mayco Member for Water and Waste Services concocted all sorts of excuses to ignore the science attached to these “dinosaur” plants, so the CBCRA sincerely hopes that the new incumbent, Dr Zahid Badroodien will take this matter seriously.

The City have encouraged - and benefitted financially from - massive development along the Atlantic Seaboard but fail to do any infrastructural upgrades on the sewerage system(s).

The disaster of the Potsdam Water Treatment Plant and the absolute pollution of the Milnerton Lagoon and riverine system is a case in point. In a matter of a few days, the City went from approving massive developments in the area to putting a total moratorium on any substantial developments. The local ratepayer organisations and scientific community had been warning of the impending catastrophe for years but the City remained deaf and blind to reality until it was too late.

The CBCRA has, for years, offered to work with the City in addressing this problem but has simply been ignored. One feasible solution would be to install an underground water treatment plant in the area between Glen Beach and Clifton. Modern plants are not visible above ground nor sources of smell and, once in place, say under the sports field in that area, the surface can return to a reasonable normal.

Now is the time for the City to enter into meaningful discussions with the community, as it is essential that the City and its citizens should be ensuring that our coastal waters are not polluted.

For years the City tried to “spin” the story that MOP’s are treatment plants. They are not! They simply macerate the raw sewerage and pump it out into the bay - for the sea tides to decide where the millions of litres of effluent finally wash ashore. 
It’s a disgrace!

Friday, 4 February 2022

Ratepayers’ action stops development in Camps Bay

Camps Bay residents have notched up a victory in their efforts to stop inappropriate development in their neighbourhood.

You can view the High Court interdict «HERE».

The Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA) took their fight to the High Court and their application to halt construction at 22 Sedgemoor Road, Camps Bay was successful.

                     Construction on this building in Camps Bay will not continue.

Justice Robert Henney heard the matter over two days last year, starting on December 13, and subsequently granted an interdict to stop any building work at Erf 2320.

The CBCRA argued that the approved building plans of the developer indicated that they allow for a building which is higher than what is allowed in terms of the local zoning scheme. While the developer argued to the contrary, the Court ruled in favour of the CBCRA.

In a statement released to the media, CBCRA said this could result in the demolition of the unlawful building work on the 990m2 property.

“We cannot have blocks of flats developed on small pieces of land in Camps Bay. If we allow this, Camps Bay will, within a few years, look no different from Sea Point or Green Point. We do not want Camps Bay to be a neighbourhood largely consisting of blocks of flats,” said Chris Willemse, the chairman of the CBCRA.

“Property values, the beauty of Camps Bay and the nature of a gardened neighbourhood, are important to local residents and ratepayers.

“It is the prevention of large numbers of blocks of flats that has, until now, made Camps Bay so attractive. Profits are important to developers so they will keep pushing for the development of more and more flats in Camps Bay, because flats can produce more profits than the development of houses. They will keep on with this, until they have ultimately destroyed the beauty of Camps Bay and its built environment. We will not allow this to happen,” he said.

The owner of the property, Adrienne Peretz, however, believes the judge was misinformed about both the plans and the height of the building and had “made a grievous error in our opinion in awarding the interdict”.

“The building is structurally complete and is 100% compliant with the plans and the heights and in every other respect and this has been independently verified by experts,” Ms Peretz said.

During the court hearing it was revealed that the developer’s approved zoning for the construction had previously lapsed. The zoning was then extended by a City official without any form of public participation, according to the CBCRA.

“Such conduct by City officials, to favour developers, is simply unacceptable. We have rights, which must also be respected. We have a duty to challenge such conduct of City officials, whenever and wherever it occurs. It is not acceptable that City officials collect rates and charges from ratepayers every month, but when it comes to decision-making, our rights are trampled,” said Mr Willemse.

Another view of 22 Sedgemoor Road in Camps Bay.

The City is aware of the High Court ruling, said Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews, who is also the City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment. He added that the matter is under consideration but was sub judice so he could not comment further.

The CBCRA will apply to have the building plans of the developer set aside, and due to the nature of legal proceedings they expect it could take years.

However, Ms Peretz is hoping that construction will continue.

“Hopefully the truth will become apparent in the court review, and the building team and sub-contractors will be allowed to continue the finishes for what has been described and attested to as a world class building by leading estate agents,” she said.

This building would have housed four luxury apartments according to the billboard.

Article posted from The Atlantic Sun: