Minutes of the quarterly committee meeting held at the Zandvlei Imperial Yacht Club on Wednesday,
25 November 2009 at 14:30.
1. Opening and welcome
Cassy Sheasby opened the meeting and welcomed all present. An attendance register was drawn up by Romeo Paulse (Student Conservation Officer) and apologies received were read out.
M de Kock
2. Water levels
Royal road bridge was discussed and the amount of litter collecting here. The Yacht Club and canoeing fraternities need to have a closer relationship with regards to event planning around the opening and closing of the mouth. The sewerage pipe under the rubble weir was discussed as having a long term negative impact on the estuary and general health of the area. The vlei needs good scouring as a lot of siltation is occurring which prevents the good inflows of sea water through tidal exchange. If the salinity levels are not maintained, could lead to fish die offs. Long term plan needs to be investigated about what can be done to mitigate the impacts of the sewerage line either by burying it deeper or by bringing it to the surface. This will be investigated when the Zandvlei Estuary Management Plan is underway and is already in the terms of reference. Talcot Persent asked to provide the dates of the upcoming opening and closing of the mouth to be included in the next meeting so that the recreational users can work around this. Cassy Sheasby to distribute.
Action TP / CS
3. Water Quality
Workshop held in previous week between various City departments about the water quality across the City and a long term view of where improvements can be made etc. Cassy Sheasby to provide details of meetings to follow and what outcomes are. A paint discharge in the Marina (Cannon Island Way) was reported to Nature conservation and investigated by Cassy Sheasby. Residents have seen it occurring every 2nd week for at least 6 months. Details and photographs were forwarded to Environmental Health, Catchment Management/ Roads & Stormwater and Pollution control. Community newspapers should be approached to include the do’s and don’ts of the by laws surrounding the correct disposal of liquids etc. Litter is still a large problem in the vlei. Cassy Sheasby hoping that the visitor controllers at the Picnic and Braai areas over festive season will help to curb this problem. David Muller suggested a raft type craft with two people employed on the vlei to paddle up and down and collect water borne litter. Cassy Sheasby was in support of this as long as health and safety precautions were in place. Phosphorus levels were reported to be at a fair level in the vlei. The salinity levels have been maintained which has helped to keep the vlei clean.
Action CS / DM.
Parks Dept were unavailable to discuss the weed harvesting. Eugene Rayners to provide information to the committee at the next meeting about the schedule and the state of the machines. The general consensus was that the weed was not a problem presently due to the high water levels. Reports reached conservation about birds nests being driven over by the weed harvester operators. A meeting was held with the drivers and Eugene Rayners, the by laws were discussed and copies issued to the drivers. They explained that sometimes it is impossible to manoeuvre around the nests and sometimes they see the nests too late. It was decided at the meeting that the drivers keep a log book in which to record any nests that are mistakenly driven over and this is to be monitored by Eugene Rayners. Residents and general public requested to report active breeding nests to conservation and parks depts to prevent future incidents.
5. Litter traps
Litter bags were not being collected by the contractors along the braai and picnic sites, this was discussed with Eugene Rayners who was assured by Pegasis that the issues would be sorted out asap. The litter trap on Coniston Avenue was cleaned very regularly and well managed. Posibilities of repositioning the litter nets closer to the litter trap needs to be discussed with Talcott Persent.
6. Doggy Doo bins and cleanups
Numerous issues and complaints from the public about lack of cleaning of doggy doo bin and insertion of a bin liner. Cassy Sheasby cleaned the bin and inserted a bag – no problem. Meeting was held with Parks about who’s responsibility it is and was issued directive that Parks empty the bin every 2nd week until the area is officially handed to Conservation with budget. Bag dispensers are going to be made by Conservation and positions adjacent to bins. Awaiting arrival of 2 red bins.Zonations of Zandvlei for dog walking will also help to curb the problem. Envisaged zonation will be: North section (original reserve): no dogs allowed. Park Island: Dogs allowed on leashes and under control. East shore: Dog free roaming zone.
7. Park Island
Cherry Giljam (via Cassy Sheasby) asked that Parks cut the grass along the pathways as very overgrown. Cherry leaving in February 2010 so will be handing over her duties. 2 contract staff have been chosen and financed through Friends of Park Island to continue work under guidance of Zandvlei Foreman Edward Moses.
8. Tube worms
Nothing new to report.
300 mallards counted including hybrids in Marina. Mallard eradication to being shortly, pamphlet to be issued to residents, joint operation with Law Enforcement.
29 fish species recorded at Zandvlei of which 23 are indigenous. Last few fish treks have shown an increase in number of species recorded including Leervis, Mullet, Cape and White Stumpnose etc. Also 2 last fish treks have juvenile White Steenbras for first time in 11 years: good sign that the estuary is still functioning but dependent on the opening and closing of the mouth.
11. Invasive Waterweed
Invasive Waterweeds management plan is being undertaken by Mandy Knofke and Kate Snaddon, Zandvlei will be a primary site for drawing up protocols. Hyacinth biocontrol was released into Westlake Wetlands area, but Parrots feather and water lettuce are now becoming prolific due to higher nutrient levels that would have been taken up by the water hyacinth. Booms are working well but also now massive filamentous algal bloom in the area.
Mural on eastern shore was praised. Many thanks to Ryana for the contribution. Sharon McCullums sister donated R10 000 into Nature Care Fund for information signage to go up around Zandvlei. First proofs were shown to members. Still need to be completed, but have the go ahead to put City branding on the signs free of charge which will make roll out easier and cheaper. Health hazard signage on banks of mouth were erected by Environmental health due to the Royal Road Bridge pump station failures causing high E. Coli levels. Needs to be monitored to see if ongoing problem.
13. Other business
a. Boardsail Inn
Future of Boardsail Inn area needs to be decided. Cassy Sheasby to hold meeting with Keith Cerfontyne about this area. Ideal site for some form of recreation / enjoyment. Due to the NEMA regulations, no fixed structures will be allowed within 20m of waters edge. Rehabilitation of the area should continue to standards of conservation protocols.
Action CS / KC.
b. Leopard toads
Leopard toads had started emerging early this year and a good yield was noticed in the northern area of the reserve. Die Oog had not reported toadlets.
c. Mowing of areas
Crowned Plovers and other birds breeding impacted by mowing at wrong time. Mowing management plan needs to be incorporated into management plan for Greater Zandvlei. Parks to liaise with Conservation about mowing of sensitive sites during flowering or breeding season.
d. Henley on Vlei flats
Neil Major has been hired to do the landscaping of Henley on Vlei and is kitting it out with stunning indigenous vegetation. Site meeting was held with Neil Major, Cassy Sheasby, Joy Garmen and Suretha Dorse. Large improvement from previous landscaper. The stormwater swale was discussed, should be widened and shaped and all rubble removed to create a feature of it.
f. Kite Festival
Overall feedback of Festival was good. Much better controlled this year, very little litter was generated. The boom gate that was damaged was fixed by Conservation. Next year stipulated that Cape Mental Health a prerequisite to have an Environmental Control Officer appointed prior to applying for a permit from City Events office.
g. Visitor controllers
Report back from Gary Rousouw that many residents are walking dogs without leashes and become quite abusive when asked to put leashes on their dogs. Kuffs visitor controllers were replaced for a short time while awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary. Squatters have been removed from the toilets opposite Henley on Vlei numerous times and seem to be new people each time. Freddie
Prins / Trevor Mitchell to be contacted about this. The closing times along the picnic and braai sites need to be enforced as most incidents are occurring after the closing hours. Zandvlei Trust willing to supply bibs for future law enforcement officers/visitor controllers.
14. Closure and date of next meeting
The next meeting scheduled for 10 February 2010 at 14:00 at the Imperial Yacht Club.