Princessvlei remains an ecological battle ground

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 05 April 2011

Princessvlei, a small shallow wetland situated in the Retreat area of the Cape Flats, remains the subject of a tug of war between developers and conservationists.

Princess Vlei remains the subject of a tug of war

Thirteen years ago in 1998 Insight Property Developers set their sights on the property and approached the City of Cape Town with an unsolicited proposal to purchase the land. The plan was to build a shopping centre on the eastern portion of public open space land of around 9000 m2.

Approval was given subject to the outcome of inter-alia, a Public Participation Process, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and rezoning of the property (to business).

After the Developer (Insight) advertised the rezoning application in 2002 a Record of Decision (RoD) was issued by the Dept of Environmental Affairs – valid for 4 years. Conditions of this DEA authorisation included the removal of all alien vegetation in and around the whole vlei as well as the removal of all indigenous topsoil and vegetation from the proposed activity area for the re-vegetation of disturbed areas.

It was concluded that the proposed development would result in a socio-economic boost for the region, providing opportunities to, among others, improve the usage of the park and promote environmental education.

Since 2008, and following a Biodiversity Network Study, Princessvlei was shown to be anything but an erf with low conservation value. It is, in fact, quite critical. Continue reading

South African Blue Flag Beaches 2011

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 30 October 2010

South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to implement the Blue Flag programme and it was launched here in November 2001 as part of the South African Government’s CoastCare initiative. Since 2001, the Blue Flag programme has become a truly global initiative with over 42 countries participating and a further seven countries undertaking the feasibility stage.

Camps Bay beach

27 South African beaches (listed at end of article) have achieved world-class standards during the past season and have been adjudicated by both a South African and an International Blue Flag Jury to meet the standards of excellence Blue Flag beaches must achieve.

“The success of the Blue Flag programme in South Africa over the past 10 years can be attributed to the commitment of participating municipalities to provide beach-goers and holiday-makers with world class beaches offering safe, clean and well-managed facilities,” said Alison Kelly, WESSA’s Blue Flag Program Manager.

“The municipalities managing Blue Flag beaches are showing that high levels of excellence and delivery of services to benefit both local and international visitors are possible. Blue Flag as an organised and internationally managed accreditation programme provides a viable system for service excellence on our coastline and those municipalities receiving accreditation today should be acknowledged for what they have achieved” Kelly said. Continue reading