Bea Whittaker, Chairperson of the Stanford Conservation, gave the following report at the recent Stanford Conservation AGM:
It has been a bumper year of activities, and I cannot start my chairman’s report without thanking each and every committee member for their enthusiasm, commitment and drive towards keeping up, and even topping, the successes of the past:
Martin Ranger for looking after the village’s architectural heritage – and the one who makes sure we adhere to every word in our constitution;
Tony Coates who heads the Wandelpad Team, which has now grown to ?? members;
Penny Paddick who took over the financial side of the SCT after Michael passed away – and our sincere condolences to you and your family);
Tracy Paton who looks after the tree issues in town;
Liz Hochfelden who serves on the Heritage Committee with Martin; and last, but definitely not least:
Elaine Teague, who has been a very efficient secretary.
There are also numerous members (and non-members!) of this organisation that volunteer their services for our endeavours such as the wandelpad and heritage committee, come up with initiatives to beautify the town, don’t charge when we ask them to do a small job or need some material, raise funds when we need them for a specific project. Most of them have been mentioned some way or another in our latest newsletter, so again – thank you to all of you (and this includes the municipality!).
The most resounding success this year has been the partnership formed between SCT and the municipality on many fronts. We often feel that the municipality is working against, rather than for, the community. Unfortunately they are bound by so many government rules, regulations, policies and Acts, that the wheels indeed grind very slowly. They are, however, turning, as you will see from the report on SCT initiatives. SCT’s representation on the Ward Committee has plays a vital role in ensuring that that proposed projects are reflected in the IDP, put on the budget, etc. For this we would like to thank our very Stanford-sympathetic councillor, Dudley Coetzee; our Gansbaai manager, Kat Myburgh; and our local area manager, Petronella Ferreira.
One other person we need to thank is Annie Ranger. Month after month she organises the Wine and Wisdom evenings (open to anyone). Thanks to this fundraiser (originally proposed by Keith Brown) Stanford Conservation inns approximately R24 000 a year, which is mainly used for wandelpad expenses, and sufficient for other small-scale projects.
So, what have we achieved this year?
Stanford Revitalisation Project:
Bernard Oberholzer’s talk about how a heritage town should develop to fully reach its potential, and relentlessly driven by the SCT, has started a whole new momentum within Stanford, as well as within the municipality. The concept of pedestrians being more important than cars is being embraced by the 2.5 metre wide sidewalk planned for the Bezuidenhout Street section between De Bruyn and Mathilda May Streets. It furthermore takes into consideration the possible piazza development around the community centre. The core historical area around the market square, which includes Shortmarket and Longmarket Streets between Queen Victoria and Du Bruyn Streets will be surveyed by end June to provide a master plan for drainage, engineering services, road alignment, pavements and parking. The precinct plan proposed for Queen Victoria Street (presented to the community in July 2014 and to the municipality in September of the same year) will be incorporated in the conservation overlay zone being compiled for Stanford in this year. Best news of all is that the municipality will use Bernard’s proposals to draw up an official precinct plan for the main road, which will enable them to apply for external funding to complete the project – keeping in mind that this will take quite some time.
Stanford riverfront tourism facilities:
Driven by the SCT mainly to protect the Klein River embankment, create open spaces and vistas that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors, and to provide amenities that will decrease human and environmental pollution and facilitate boat access, the municipality has appointed a consultant to execute the legally required Environmental Impact Assessment by end June.
- Wandelpad maintenance:
Tony Coates and his dedicated team of the past year (Anka Esterhuizen, Basil Whittaker, Ian Wilson and Peter Hochfelden) did a sterling job to make the wandelpad the crown jewel of Stanford. They have recently been joined by Marian Williams, Mary Knight and Sidney Smith. The backbone of this team is the Working for the Coast group, favourably known as the Green Team. Having an average of 8 people to assist us twice a week enables us to move mountains. The spin-off has also been advantageous to Pawli and his team: year after year they are regarded as the best performing team in the Overstrand, and Stanford is used as an example of what can be achieved when a community actively participates in a job creation project. The good news is that they have been appointed for another 2 years, but there will be a few months’ gap before the agreements are in place and they can start again. In those months the SCT will have some causal labour expenses to maintain the wandelpad – one of the reasons we keep a reasonable ‘kitty’ in the budget.
- Wandelpad Map
A wandelpad map has just been printed (thanks to Wine & Wisdom funds!). These will be distributed to every accommodation establishment so that visitors can enjoy the route and learn more about our village. A great thanks to Siobhan Towney who offered to design the map pro bono, buy eventually did receive a small stipend for all her hard work.
This does bring me to an issue we need to address – with the wandelpad become so popular, more and more people (and their dogs) are walking the route. We have purchased one “Dog Poo” bin, and are in the process of buying 3 more. Please take a plastic bag along when you walk your dogs and clean up after your dear pet(s)!
- Reed removal
After the very inspiring talk by Alan Liebenberg from Intaka Island at the last AGM, the wandelpad team and the municipality visited the island to understand how they control reed growth. SCT then drew up a document for reed management in Stanford, which was presented to the Klein River Estuary Forum (KREF) for comment. With most members in agreement (which includes CapeNature and the municipality), a management plan is at present being drawn up between SCT and the municipality. This plan clearly sets out what SCT will do and which areas it will maintain reed free, and which areas and activities the municipality will be responsible for.
All reed harvesting/cutting is done in collaboration with the municipality and in a manner that will not be detrimental to the functions the reeds provide – nutrient removal and flood attenuation. Reed removal/application of herbicide will only be done in areas where reed growth has the potential to block the river flow, and will not exceed 300m2/erf (and there are only 2 erven along the river’s edge).
Tree planting and watering:
The watering of the trees planted by SCT and/or the municipality on the market square, pavements and public open spaces, has been a bone of contention between SCT and the municipality for a number of years. We are glad to announce that an agreement has been reached whereby the Green Team will in future water the above-mentioned trees that do not form part of an irrigation system every Monday afternoon – thanks to a 500 litre water tank donated by Peter Wolters. The irrigation on the market square was fixed by SCT, and the municipality has undertaken to provide water points at areas where there are a number of trees to enable SCT to put in a gravity flow irrigation system that can be operated manually.
De Bron School:
The school has one outside tap and the area around the tap is always muddy. With the funds allocated to De Bron in the budget, SCT requested Barry Ferreira to lay a concrete slab. This was done – but free of charge! SCT is now engaging with a plumber to provide additional taps with the allocated funds.
We do distribute a newsletter twice a year, and would appreciate feedback on any other ways to communicate with our members. We do have a website, but desperately need someone to take this under his/her wing and update it regularly. We are also planning a river-based reed cutting day on >>>>, with a braai afterwards – please diarise the date and bring your costumes and hedge cutters!
Thanks to the monthly Wine & Wisdom evenings, we have sufficient funds to maintain our present activities. However, it would be wise to build up additional funds for larger projects, possible consultancy fees etc. Larger projects could include providing co-ordinated signage along the wandelpad, raised and wheelchair-friendly boardwalks in uneven walking areas, working with organisations such as KRAB to provide a guard house/ boom control/ ablution facilities. Private/public partnerships will become more and more important to address the conservation needs of Stanford, and we need to prepare for this. We will therefore be launching our 100’s club in June – 100 people (not necessarily SCT members or Stanford residents) pay R100 each: 50% (R5 000) stays with the SCT and 2 prizes (R4 000 and R1 000) can be one. We intend doing this four times a year, but your input under ‘general’ would be appreciated.