The next meeting of the Simon’s Town Coastal Forum will be held on Tuesday 26 February 2013 at 5.30pm for 6.00pm, upstairs in the False Bay Yacht Club.

The Agenda will include feedback on Matters Arising from the inaugural meeting, and new items raised by members. Jim Hallinan will lead a discussion on “Our Very Special Coastal Environment: What makes it so unique and valuable?” All interested organisations and individuals are cordially invited.

 

Report on Simon’s Town Coastal Forum 13 November 2012

At its inaugural meeting at the Town Hall on the evening of Tuesday 13 November 2012, the formation of the Simon’s Town Coastal Forum was welcomed by an enthusiastic audience with the well-being of the Simon’s Town coast at heart.

 

The meeting heard of plans by the Coastal Unit and Environmental Compliance in the City of Cape Town to strengthen its activities on the coast, support from local organisations for the Forum, and raised issues requiring immediate attention ranging from litter on beaches, pollution into the sea and adequate law enforcement. The need for awareness, education and communication was stressed.

 

Fifteen organisations and twenty individuals have registered their interest in the Forum. In addition representatives of five entities within the City of Cape Town have pledged their support. The Simon’s Town Coastal Forum is the first such Forum to be formed along the coast of Cape Town.

 

Matters Arising from the November Meeting

 

Launch of the City of Cape Town Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit

The City of Cape Town launched their new Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit at a ceremony in Simon’s Town on 20 December 2012. See attached file.

 

Dogs on beaches: Following meetings of the Simon’s Town Civic Association and the Simon’s Town Penguin Advisory meeting, a consensus from interested parties is being drawn up for submission to these bodies and to the coastal management authorities. A simplified approach is being mooted, with fewer signs and with dog owners keeping their dogs under control as a duty to the wider community. Dogs will be banned from “penguin” beaches at all times, and popular public beaches at certain times during the holiday season. See attached file.

 

Burghers Walk: The residents of Links Crescent and the coastal management authorities are drawing up a mutually acceptable agreement on public access to the coast from Burghers Walk for leisure activities.

 

Beaches: An updated description of eleven beaches along the Simon’s Town coastline is being assembled. This will enable a watch to be kept on their maintenance as public facilities, with the condition of tidal pools and Miller’s Point already being recognised as points of concern. An interesting outcome of this description is the emphasis on their place in the history of Simon’s Town. See attached file.

 

Health of the Ocean: Attention has been drawn to the Ocean Health Index: www.oceanhealthindex.org . The Institute for Maritime Technology is investigating using this Index along the Simon’s Town coastline for the South African Navy.

 

Passenger Rail Agency South Africa: PRASA recently leased a portion of the Kalk Bay seafront to a restaurant, potentially denying access to sea to the general public. It should be noted that PRASA might believe that it has similar rights to the seafront on the sea side of the Main Road between Glencairn and Simon’s Town.

 

Geoff Brundrit
00 27 21 786 2308
oceangeoff@iafrica.com

Simon’s Town Beaches

The City of Cape Town in its publication “Beaches: a diversity of treasures” recognises eleven beaches along the Simon’s Town coastline.

Smitswinkel Bay: A small isolated beach surrounded by holiday homes with no real access. It is a popular dive site, close to artificial reefs formed from scuttled vessels.

Miller’s Point: A recreational facility managed by the City of Cape Town, which includes a caravan site and two slipways for ski boats used for line fishing and diving in False Bay. The whole area is run down and in need of careful rehabilitation. Just south is the popular dive site at Castle Rock.

Fisherman’s Beach: Created in the last century by trek-netters displaced from the beaches lost in the SA Navy harbour, this is a popular swimming beach.

Frank’s Bay: Named after Frank Muller, it is also associated with trek-netting, but now it is filled with kelp and is little used.

Windmill Beach: A small, relatively sheltered, beach which is popular with families. It is named after the original windmill erected in the early years of the last century to pump fresh water from a small stream to the houses at Boulders.

Boulders Beach: This is small sheltered beach, inside the Boulders Penguin Park, where families can play on the beach and paddle and swim with penguins. The nearby Foxy Beach is reserved for penguins. An entrance fee is charged by the National Park.

Seaforth Beach: This is a sheltered beach, backed by grassy lawns and is popular with families. In the nineteenth century, Seaforth had been used as a small boat based whaling station.

Long Beach: This is a long strip of white sand on the sea side of the railway line at Simon’s Town Station. It is popular for picnics, swimming and kayaking, though wind can be a problem.

Mackerel Beach: A little used beach opposite Dido Valley, though trek-netters still takes place under licence.

Shelley Beach: A tiny sandy cove with a nearby tidal pool.

Glencairn Beach: A long sandy beach which is popular with swimmers and, in windy conditions, with kite-surfers. There is a large tidal pool on the rocks to the south of the beach.

 

Dogs on Beaches

An item from the Simon’s Town Coastal Forum and

Simon’s Town Penguin Advisory Committee

New notices about dogs on beaches were recently erected along the coast of Simon’s Town. This action was received with dismay as there appeared to have been little consultation with dog owners and many of the signs were inappropriately placed. I have been asked by the Simon’s Town Penguin Advisory Committee to try to rectify the situation by gaining consensus among interested parties for a simplified approach that will be largely self-policed.

 

Present By-Laws indicate that dogs are allowed off their owner’s properties provided the dogs are under control at all times. Ideally this would mean that the dog is on a leash, but what does “under control” mean in other circumstances? Some examples can help. The owner should not allow the dog to attack other dogs or to harass other animals in any way. If the dog approaches other people to their obvious distress, the owner should immediately restrain the dog. If the dog deposits its faeces in a public place, the owner should remove the faeces and clean up after the dog.

 

Public areas along the coast, particularly beaches, are places where owners should ensure that their dogs are under control at all times. Owners should carry both leashes and doggy poo bags with them whilst walking their dogs, ready to be used when needed. Owners of dogs should take on this responsibility as a duty to the wider community, so that dogs are always under control.

 

Nevertheless, there are beaches where circumstances are such that it is advisable to insist that no dogs should be allowed. Boulders Beach is an example, where the National Park bans all dogs lest the dogs interfere with the penguins. There are also beaches that at times are so popular that dogs cannot be kept away from people and become impossible to control effectively. Children, in particular, become very frightened. The City also has a responsibility to keep its beaches clean. It is at these popular times and at these beaches, where dogs should not be permitted.

 

My view is that there are just two situations. There are beaches and times, where it is advisable to completely ban dogs. At all other places and times, dogs should be permitted provided the dogs are under control. I believe that it is inadvisable to designate any beach as an area where owners can be encouraged to let their dogs run completely free, and thus out of control.

 

Where and when should dogs be banned along the Simon’s Town coast? Certainly dogs should be banned on the beaches within the Boulders National Park, and the City should do the same at its beaches where penguins are nesting and chicks are vulnerable. There are also beaches that are very popular in the summer season. Other municipalities along the coast place notices banning dogs from their beaches in particular months and at particular times of the day. The City of Cape Town should do this for the popular beaches along the Simon’s Town coast. Otherwise, dog owners should take on the responsibility of keeping their dogs under control at all times, and this is the crucial point to be made on notices.

Geoff Brundrit

November 2012