November Newsletter 2023

Nov 21, 2023

Message from our Chairperson (Chester Wilmot)

This has been the most inspiring few weeks as we have witnessed Estuary Care taking off. It all started in May when Dave Curran invited folk to an EC interest meeting which was very well attended. With both Stuart and Dave standing back from leadership in September, Jacques de Wit and I set about trying to harness the potential from the enthusiastic new members. We have developed many teams to cover the multiple aspects needed in caring for our estuaries and the surrounding area.

Working teams established so far include:

  • Nick Albrightson, Daphne, Jim, Mike, Simon and Charlotte are clearing towpaths and removing invasive alien vegetation.
  • Duarte Scholtz, assisted by Jacques de Wit is in the process of doing a full-scale repair of the Bushmans Jetty after it broke away from its mooring with the high seas.
  • I am reluctantly trying to organise the replacement or manufacturing of the vitally needed Kariega slipway jetty. In doing a seasonal check-up we found it is a total write off. I am calling for volunteers to please help or take over the project. I will continue trying to find the R60K or R70 000 funding needed to pay for the replacement.
  • Martin Smith is heading up River Safety and is studying river by-laws etc.
  • Stuart is moving ahead with the legal issues pertaining to the Westbourne Rd sand dune.
  • Dave Curran, Duarte and others are gearing up to replace and service channel markers on both rivers.
  • James Kennedy and his enthusiastic team of Shona and Ian are our spin doctor team. They are taking care of communications and commercial issues. Their portfolio covers all multimedia notices, newsletters and marketing etc. and currently are having T Shirts printed to publicize EC and add to our income source. Also planned is a refresh of our website and social media pages and regular news updates and features.
  • Dennis Dallas is organising the AGM with signage and sound systems etc.
  • Jacques de Wit has cleared the Bushmans bank of pieces of concrete blocks etc. and is also assessing the Bushmans sewage systems. Howard Ball is getting involved in seeing what EC can do to help to make sure contaminated water does not enter the Kariega estuary. It might take years to see the results, but we will endeavour to work with the authorities and find long term solutions.
  • Sarel and Suzette Marais will be advising us and Ndlambe on becoming compliant with Estuary Management legal requirements.
  • Sarah Steven has volunteered to put systems in place to alleviate the Boat trailer park chaos at the Kariega slipway.

This is an enormous amount of very necessary activity but is really only the beginning as there are still as many portfolios to fill as there are folk needed to fill them.

Liaison with other organisations

On the local communication front, Jacques and I have met with Ndlambe Directorate to re-establish better relationships now that we have withdrawn our support for the legal case made against the Municipality (entered with KOSRA and Natures Landing seven years ago but with judgement still pending).

We are currently represented on the executive committees of Kenton Boesmans Chamber of Business and Tourism, both the KOSRA and BRRAG Ratepayers Associations and we have invited Ndlambe to attend our EC committee meetings once again. We also want to re-establish our seats on the two municipal ward committees. We have established relationships with Rotary and Round Table has joined as corporate members. Next week we will be meeting with Lindy Southerland of Kariega Foundation for the second time but this time we will meet their vital and young managers and rangers.

Some more detail from some of our portfolios

The past few months have been dominated by repair work and cleaning up after the recent high seas and surge tide damage. Getting rid of alien vegetation has also been a huge job. That is most visible. What is less visible, but is very significant, is the “behind the scenes” work with Ndlambe officials, legal and conservation experts and other stakeholders concerned with the broader environmental management plan for the area. Here’s an update from some of our portfolios:

Jetties

The main Kariega public jetty is broken beyond repair and needs to be replaced urgently. The Bushmans jetty also broke away and is under repair.

We are looking for volunteers who can work with wood, metal, big bolts, cables, saws etc and for financial contributions (a request will follow later, as we are not yet able to get a firm figure from Ndlambe Muni on what they will pay towards replacement of the Kariega jetty).

Please contact me on 084 624 0947 to get more specifics if you can volunteer. We really need this for the holiday season!

Boesmans Slipway & Rubble Clearing

The Boesmansriviermond area also took a pounding from the high seas and BRRAG (Boesmansriviermond Ratepayers Organization) and Estuary Care teamed up to improve the river beach area in Boesmansriviermond, especially in preparation for welcoming South African and overseas holidaymakers.

Removing 4 tons of concrete, rubble, and 3 loads of dead plant material is a significant achievement, and it demonstrates a commitment to preserving and beautifying the environment for everyone to enjoy.

It’s important to recognize the dedication of local residents like Jacques de Wit (Vice Chairman of BRRAG & Estuary Care) amongst others, for their continuous efforts in coordinating and ensuring that the community comes together to enhance the town’s appeal as a destination for visitors.

Boesman’s slipway and jetty repair

Cas Castelyn, who helped transport the rubble and plant material, and Noks of Bushmans Creek, who provided space for disposal, also deserve appreciation for their contributions.

This collaborative and community-driven effort not only makes Boesmansriviermond more attractive for tourists but also showcases the sense of community and pride in the local environment. Such initiatives play a crucial role in promoting sustainable tourism and preserving natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.

Thank you to all our Champions on the ground!

Boesmansriviermond rubble

Tow Paths & Clearing Invasive Alien Plants

The clearing of Tow Paths has taken a twist…….

Earlier on this year Estuary Care opened its doors to the public, to display what we are all about. This was a huge success in that many residents were eager to come on board to assist in the different portfolios. Nick Albrightson took on this portfolio.

Nick was pleased to find that some of the volunteers, who chose to assist in the Tow Paths clearing, are environmentalists. This opened new doors to relook at eradicating all alien growth, not only on the Tow Paths, but also along all Access Paths as well. The team started identifying Alien vegetation from the end of Westbourne Rd. (North) and were horrified to find that 90% of the vegetation was Alien.

As can be seen from the photographs this involved a considerable amount of labour. But with the extra bodies this was soon taken care of. The team are slowly moving Southwards, clearing the alien growth – “slowly” because there is a need to clear the Tow Path and Access Paths and do general maintenance as well.

Estuary Care AGM

The AGM will be at 10 am in the Bushmans Hall on the 22nd December. We are hoping to fill the hall to capacity as portfolio leaders will describe their tasks and then allow time for some public participation. Hopefully some conversations will continue around the coffee station after the formal meeting is over.

The main theme around the AGM will be the river siltation issues and I will lead the discussion with a Presentation on how EC has followed the developing over-supply of sand over the years and what we have attempted to remedy the problem. Stuart will then bring us up to date with MER, our dune consultant engineers and describe what we expect for the way forward.

Closing appeal

We still need members to become involved in the various portfolios. Please contact me on 084 624 0947 or other Estuary Care members via our website.

Chester Wilmot
Chairperson

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”
– Chief Seattle

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