28 Feb 2013

It is surf anarchy on Hout Bay Beach #promotingHoutBay #vivaRepublica

20 Feb 2012

That was the weekend in Hout Bay

After such a great weekend in Hout Bay, thought it would fitting to show this timelapse shot of Hout Bay beach, shot by @Themindbiggles.


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11 May 2011

Wetland troubles continue

Wetland troubles continue

Taken from iol.co.za/JOHN YELD Environment & Science Write:

THE NATIONAL Water Affairs Department says it is determined to protect water sources, especially wetlands, and has requested the developer of the Beach Club at Hout Bay to produce a wetland specialist’s report within 14 days, among other documents.

This follows its action last week when it gave the developer 48 hours to explain why it should not issue a directive to stop all further infilling of a disputed wetland area, remove all the fill already dumped and levelled, and rehabilitate the site to its natural state.

The developer of this controversial housing estate in the coastal dunes on the western bank of the Disa River, Really Useful Investments (Pty) Ltd, continues to insist that all the infilling work is being done legally in terms of an environmental plan approved by the provincial government.

This was confirmed to the Cape Argus again on Friday by its attorney, Johan du Plessis, who said: “My client is implementing an approved development plan authorising development on its property above the 50-year flood level, but is doing so under the supervision of an independent environmental control officer and in accordance with a construction phase environmental management plan approved by the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.”

However, the 50-year flood level is now strongly disputed by the Hout Bay & Llandudno Environment Conservation Group, which had earlier made an unsuccessful bid in the Western Cape High Court to stop the developer’s earthmoving operation which it said included infilling of part of the wetlands linked to the estuary.

“Blue Scorpion” Thando Stimela, a compliance, monitoring and enforcement official at Water Affairs’ regional head office in Bellville, confirmed yesterday that the developer had responded to the department’s 48-hour demand, and had asked it not to issue a directive. However, the department had not been satisfied with the response, partly because some documentation was lacking.

After a discussion with the developer’s legal team, the developer had been given 14 days to supply the construction phase environmental management plan, as well as a wetland specialist’s report which included a delineation of the wetland. Also, the department had requested a diagram to be drawn up by a professional engineer, showing the 1:50-year flood line in the area.

“The reason we want this is because we want to satisfy ourselves about their EMP (environmental management plan),” Stimela said.

The City of Cape Town is working with the department to investigate an alleged failure by the Beach Club developer to comply with its order, issued last month in terms of the stormwater management by-law. This was to stop all further infilling in the disputed wetland area in the Disa River estuary, and to remove all fill already placed within the 1:100-year flood line.

City media manager Kylie Hatton confirmed “non-compliance with the stormwater notice”, and said its further efforts in this regard were being co-ordinated with the national Water Affairs Department.

“In the event that (the developer’s) representations are unsatisfactory, the city and the department will prepare a final notice and will make a decision as to whether to apply to the high court for an urgent interdict should this not be complied with. A remediation order may be part of what the city could apply for.”

Stimela also said Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa was “very concerned” about wetlands, and that the department was acting against alleged contraventions of the act in various places in the Western Cape, including at Mfuleni adjoining the Kuils River

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11 Apr 2011

‘Dicey’ Hout Bay property development irks conservationists

‘Dicey’ Hout Bay property development irks conservationists

Taken from iol.co.za/

A change of heart by the provincial authorities has resulted in a developer being allowed to fill in part of the wetland of the Disa River estuary in Hout Bay, without a comprehensive environmental impact assessment or any public participation process.

But the developer has denied that the land in question – part of the Beach Club development on the coastal dunes adjoining Hout Bay beach – is a wetland.

He says the area being filled in lies above the 1-in-50-year floodline as shown on a city map that is part of the 1994 approval of this controversial development.

However, Hout Bay environmentalists say the type of vegetation on the site, and standing water there – despite the very dry summer, make it indisputably a wetland.

They want the city to explain how the floodline was determined.

The province’s decision and the developer’s subsequent earthmoving activities so angered the Hout Bay & Llandudno Environment Conservation Group that it attempted to obtain an urgent High Court interdict last week to stop the bulldozing.

But it was a highly unusual David and Goliath legal effort.

The group represented itself in court and was up against one of the acknowledged environmental experts at the Cape Bar, advocate Andrew Breitenbach SC. They were unsuccessful, although they did not have costs awarded against them.

On Friday last week, Acting Judge Murray van Heerden rejected its application for an order preventing the Beach Club developer from continuing with any in-filling of the wetland, pending authorisation in terms of national environmental legislation.

Instead, he issued an order by agreement that the developer would not push sand or any other material on to the city-owned portion of the wetland, or on to any part of its Beach Club property shown on the 1994-approved development plan as being below the 50-year flood level.

The respondents were Donald Hemphill and development owner Really Useful Investments 219 (Pty) Ltd, of which Hemphill is a director and shareholder, as well as provincial environment and planning MEC Anton Bredell, who did not oppose the application.

In his founding affidavit, conservation group executive committee member Len Swimmer explained that the provincial Environmental Affairs and Development Planning department had decided, in October 2009, that a full environmental impact assessment would be required for further development of the Beach Club in the wetland area.

However, the department head reversed that decision in February after informal representations by the developer’s attorney.

“The respondents are proceeding with the in-filling of the wetland area with sand and other such-like material. The in-filling is currently in process and has given rise to expressions of outrage and complaint… from various members of the Hout Bay community.”

But in his answering affidavit, Hemphill said no part of the wetland was on the development’s property. It was all city-owned. Also, no work was being done within 100m of the high-water mark.

Before the in-filling had started, a construction phase environmental management plan was prepared and approved by the province.

The conservation group’s application was defective “on a number of grounds” – including that Swimmer was not an attorney admitted to appear before court – and that it was “an abuse of process which ought not to tolerated”, Hemphill said.

“I deny not only that the applicant has any right to the interdict it is seeking, but also that the environment will suffer irreparable harm if the work is to continue. The development is being undertaken lawfully and in an environmentally-responsible manner.”

The province and the city have been asked to comment.

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28 Dec 2010

Clean-up campaign to ensure spotless beaches for New Year’s

Clean-up campaign to ensure spotless beaches for New Year’s

Taken from www.eyewitnessnews.co.za:

New Year’s celebrations are less than a week away and holidaymakers and revellers can expect popular beaches to be spotless.

Hundreds of volunteers have been deployed to 22 sandy stretches countrywide to pick up rubbish as part of the Vodacom Clean Up Campaign.

Public relations consultant Olivia Symcox said they are also appealing to the public to lend a hand.

“In the Western Cape Vodacom cleaners will be stationed at Strand, Mnandi, Muizenberg, Hout Bay, Camps Bay and Blaauwberg Strand. With New Year’s resolutions all South Africans are encouraged to try and adjust their lifestyles with ’reduce, reuse and recycle’,” she said.

The campaign ends on 7 January 2011.

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