Newsletter October 2013

Newsletter

OCTOBER 2013

Contents

 

 Attracting new members

You have probably noticed that we have a new CPOA logo which was designed by an artist and we believe brings out the essence of the Constantia Valley. It is part of our strategy to refresh the image of the CPOA in an effort to attract new ‘younger generation’ property owners to join the Association and take it into the future. To this end, we have put together some marketing material (flyers, advertising ‘feather’ banners, CPOA branded ‘T’ shirts, enlarged map of the  CPOA boundaries, etc.) that we can use at various events and venues to promote the Association. We had a test run at the VOB Grape Run on Sunday 20 October where we set up a stand and we intend to do likewise at other events in the future.We appeal to you to forward this newsletter to people you know in Constantia who may be interested in joining and becoming involved. Simply click on the ‘SHARE THIS EMAIL’  button at the end of this newsletter and insert their email address.

2013 AGM

The 2013 Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 14th November 2013 at 7:30 pm in the Alphen Hall, Alphen Centre, Constantia. The official notice and agenda for the  AGM together with proxy forms, ExCo nomination forms and membership application forms are included in this email as linked documents (see below). The minutes of last year’s AGM can be found on our website www.simonbarnett.co.za/cpoa under ‘Notices’.Again, we urge our existing members to spread the word and perhaps invite prospective new members to attend the AGM to find out first hand what the Association is all about.

Please click here to view agenda

Please click here to view proxy …

Update on some contentious  issues

The ‘Pot House’
In November 2012 the City served a ‘Notice to Cease Work’ on the owner which he challenged on the grounds that his appeal was being considered by the Western Cape Government   (DEADP) –  the case was adjourned by the Director of Public Prosecutions pending this decision. Councillor Liz Brunette has attempted to expedite this decision but to date it appears as if the impasse will continue.

More recently, we were requested to sign plans to regularize the garage and maid’s quarters. These plans still portray that the building is for residential use and as such we had no grounds to refuse to sign. The departure was approved by the City.

To be blunt, the owner continues to flout the law by operating in contravention of the legislated land use.

What is at issue here is far bigger than this particular rogue development – our concern is the willingness and ability of the authorities to enforce the law. If the City of Cape Town and DEADP do not take decisive action to ensure that this matter is resolved, then in effect they are condoning breaking the law. This sets an extremely dangerous precedent. We are in fact right now dealing with what could turn out to be a repetition of the ‘Pot House’ at two other properties where the owner is proceeding with the conversion of a residential property into a commercial operation in full view of the authorities.

Little Stream

 Little Stream (Klein Constantia Rd) continues to be operated as a cafe/coffee shop to the public in contravention of  the land use rights and in total disregard of the notice that was  served on the owners by the City. We asked the City to investigate and provide us with an update of the legal proceedings that they  instituted. We were told that the owners of Little Stream had been in contact with them  and that an extension of the notice that was issued was granted. They have undertaken to conduct a follow up inspection early in November 2013.

Constantia Village Noise 

There is a Servitude Agreement between the  CPOA and owners of Constantia Village Shopping Centre through which the operations and development of the Centre are controlled.This includes aspects such as trading hours, delivery times, signage, building activities, noise nuisance etc.

For some time now, groups of neighbouring property owners have complained about excessive noise being generated by delivery vehicles and offloading operations,particularly after hours. Another issue has been the noise generated by the compaction equipment and bottle recycling on the western side of the Centre. The CPOA sub-committee set up to administer the Servitude Agreement have had on-going communications and meetings with all parties involved in attempting to facilitate solutions which are acceptable to all.  Resolution has not yet been reached and in order to take a more scientific approach to solving the issues, Consulting Environmental Engineers were appointed by Growthpoint (in terms of the Servitude Agreement) to carry out a Noise Impact Assessment. This was a highly technical exercise, but in a nutshell involved establishing what the baseline (ambient background) noise levels were and then monitoring the noise levels generated above this baseline at different locations. Regulation requires that this does not spike a certain number of decibels above the ambient noise level.

The report has  finally been completed but, at the time of going to print, the findings are still being analysed by Growthpoint and the CPOA sub-committee prior to release to affected property owners and the public at large.



Special Projects

Ladies Mile Re-cycling Facility -latest news

This was reported on in the June newsletter and we understand that the City (Solid Waste Department) continue to investigate alternative sites. This involves traffic impact  (TIA’s), environmental impact  (EIA’s) , noise and dust nuisance assessments as well as liaison with several other Departments – all of this is costly and takes time.An on site meeting was held at the Westlake Conservation Centre (Ou Kaapse Weg) with officials from the City to explore other possibilities for using a portion of this site. Although it seems technically possible, the Environmental Resource Management Department who occupy the site at present have  other plans for the entire site.Councillor Liz Brunette has undertaken to revive the forum that was established to explore solutions together with the community as represented by your Association and Friends of CV Green Belts.Time is marching on and City Solid Waste say  that the period required for all the processes listed above from the time of identifying a site until commissioning is approximately three years. This is probably the period remaining before the Ladies Mile facility is closed and development begins so there is real pressure to find solutions. The latest thinking is to have several small satellite sites rather than a single large facility.

Proclamation of Historic Farms in the Constantia- Tokai Valley as a Grade 1 Cultural Site

This project was described in detail in the October 2012 newsletter by Yvonne Leibman (CPOA Executive Member and Heritage Portfolio Chairperson). Yvonne has since then been formally appointed in her professional capacity to work with the South African Heritage Resource Agency who are spearheading the project. Preliminary work comprises the collection of  data from several sources as well as establishing details of all the farms in the valley – surprisingly more numerous than one imagines (there are probably about 25 ). This project is being generously  funded by a single donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

‘Constantia Day’

Our Communication and Fundraising sub-committee are proposing to hold a ‘Constantia Day’ similar to Franschhoek’s ‘Bastille Day’ where a variety of family orientated activities are held – all in an effort to engender a stronger community spirit and to attract new members. This proposal was put to the Gildale Committee (who co-ordinate management of the Constantia sports complex) – they were very supportive of the idea and the next step is to have a ‘think tank’ session to explore possibilities.


Traffic, Roads & Stormwater

As a result of numerous complaints and queries from property owners, we have decided to form a new sub-committee which will deal specifically with matters relating to traffic (such as lights, calming measures, taxis) , roads (maintenance, potholes, construction, markings etc.) and stormwater (including maintenance, rehabilitation,  flooding). This sub-committee will work in close collaboration with the City and an initial ‘brainstorming’ workshop has already been held between ourselves, Councillor Liz Brunette and a senior City Engineer. We are looking for members with expertise in this field who may be interested in joining this sub-committee (any retired engineers who are willing to perform pro bono work would be extremely welcome!). The sub-committee will be chaired by Peter Stenslunde, a local resident.

Traffic Lights

Identifying those intersections that warrant traffic lights to be  installed to cope with present and future volumes of traffic.

Traffic Calming 

Identification of where the various measures (raised intersection, circle or speed hump) need to be implemented. Some areas have already been identified by the Transport Network Development Department but due to  lack of funding, have not been  taken forward. We are working on a programme with the City for residents to fund these projects. The CPOA is well placed to motivate and manage such projects with funds collected and payments being disbursed through the Constantia Valley Trust. The following projects have already been identified as needing traffic calming:

  • Intersection of Southern Cross Drive and Monteray Drive – traffic circle.
  • Silverhurst Drive  – traffic circle or raised intersection.
  • Pinehurst Road – traffic circle.
Roads
The City Roads Department has a system for assessing the condition of roads and they carry out  inspections on an on-going basis from which the annual maintenance programme is compiled. The idea is that we will compile our own list of priorities from our site inspections as well as  complaints received from property owners. We will then be in a position to work in collaboration with the City to decide on priorities. Typically these would be those roads that:
  •  need to be upgraded/redesigned  to cope with the ever increasing volume of traffic –e.g. Parish Road.
  •  are in need of re-sealing  – e.g. Ave Picardie.
  • are in need of sectional re-sealing  where “patchwork” will suffice – e.g. Pinehurst Road.
We are aware of the fact that there are at present  many roads with an unacceptable number of  potholes and it our intention to reverse the widespread deterioration of the  network in Constantia.
Road markings
As with roads, the City  undertakes on-going inspections to compile  annual road marking and  weed spraying programmes. We will monitor these programmes to ensure that they are correctly implemented and executed. We are aware of the fact that many roads need to be re-marked and some have no markings at all.

Road Signs

We will assist the City to identify missing signs and those that have rusted/faded

Storm water Drains

As with roads, those that are in need of repair or where serious flooding occurs  – e.g. Southern Cross Drive and Brommersvlei Rd

(Please note that the above are examples only and this is  by no means a comprehensive list)

Last, but certainly not least, it is important for property owners to be aware of the demand being imposed on all infrastructure  as a result of a rapidly growing City. Yes, we all pay rates, but the demands on the City to provide basic services are enormous and residents must realise that if they want their neighbourhood to be kept immaculate, then they must contribute  manpower, knowledge, funding etc. and GET INVOLVED!



Building Renovation Guidelines

It is that time of year when many people start to think about doing renovations to their homes. It is probably already too late to start anything this year but over the holiday/summer season  the creative juices start to flow and plans are initiated. The following are some basic guidelines for the entire process.

Appointing an architect/designer

  •  Before appointing an architect/designer you should familiarise yourself with their work and style.   Ask for references and speak to past clients to gauge how successful the projects were and what problems, if any, were encountered.
  •  Establish whether or not the architect/designer will also project manage the process.  Not all good designers make competent project managers. If you have  limited construction experience, employing a professional  project manager to manage the whole project could  actually save you a lot of money and stress.
  •  It is important to obtain clarity on fees up front.  Establish whether or not the architect/designer will work on a project based fee (i.e. a fee based on the cost of the project) or on an hourly rate basis.  To view the recommended fees for registered architects in South Africa, go  to the SACAP (SA Council for the Architectural Profession) website: http://www.sacapsa.com and click on Downloads.
 Appointing and managing a builder
  • We recommend that you appoint a builder who is a member of the Master Builders and Allied Trader’s Association (MBA) and who therefore subscribes to the MBA Code of Practice.  To view the list of registered master builders, check out the MBA’s website on http://www.mbawc.org.za/ – see Listed Members.
  • As with the choice of architect, it is useful to physically view the builder’s previous work and obtain references from previous clients.
  •  Plan your project thoroughly and include as much detail as possible when asking builders to quote – obtain at least three quotes. A detailed set of plans and comprehensive specification of finishes, window/doors schedules etc. will result in an accurate price which can easily be compared with other quotes received i.e you need to compare apples with apples. It also reduces the risk of  unexpected costs and disputes. When comparing the quotes, ensure that the products used and/or level of specification applied by the builders are similar.  If one quote is unusually low compared to others, try and establish the reason, as too low a price invariably means that corners have been cut.
  • It is obviously prudent to conclude a written agreement with your builder.  Ensure that there is an arbitration clause to deal with disputes that may arise.
  •  Ask your builder for a works programme which he must update weekly and review with you or your architect/project manager on an ongoing basis. Try to minimise changes by planning in as much detail as possible before commencement. Changes usually result in delays and additional cost.
  •  It is generally unwise to pay any money upfront to your builder. Builders are usually paid fortnightly or monthly for work satisfactorily completed up to that point. These details will be recorded in the contract document along with retention to be held against each payment and for a specified period after completion.
  • The MBA provides a standard contract for residential renovations.  The documents can be downloaded for a nominal fee from http://www.mbawc.org.za/

Health & Safety

  •    Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA), the owner who commissions work on his property is liable to ensure that the Contractor complies with OHSA and its    regulations. The designer must provide certain technical and safety information to the owner who must     in turn provide  a health and safety specification for the project.
  •   The builder must compile a health and safety plan to align with his client’s specification.
  •   Find out what measures the builder has in place to ensure compliance with his plan.
  •   If you have a pool, you are  required to ensure that access to the pool is controlled under the National Building Regulations.

Building Insurance

  •   You may want to take out additional insurance for the duration of the project.  This type of insurance covers you in the event of fire or destruction of the work.
  • It is also worthwhile to ensure that your public liability insurance is in place and that it covers any potential liability that may arise should injuries occur to the contractors on site.

Consider thy Neighbour

The National Building Regulations and Building Standards provide that, unless authorised by the Municipality,:

“no person shall carry on any activity or use or permit to be used in the course of any building, demolition or excavation work any machine, machinery, engine, apparatus, tool or contrivance, in whatever manner it may be propelled, which in the opinion of the local authority may unreasonably disturb or interfere with the amenity of the neighbourhood, during the following periods: 

(1) A Sunday and Good Friday, Ascension Day, day of the Vow, Christmas Day and New Years Day 

(2) Before 06:00 and after 17:00 on any Saturday, and 

(3) Before 06:00 and after 18:00 on any day other than those days in (1)”

and (paraphrased):

“Any person undertaking any erection or demolition work shall not encroach upon any street or public place abutting such site except with the prior written approval of the local authority” (ie the City of Cape Town)

  •  To view the National Building Regulations and Building Standards, go to www.capetown.gov.za and search on “National Building Regulations” or try the following link http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/CityHealth/Documents/Legislation/Regulations%20-%20National%20Building%20Regulations%20-%20R%202378%20of%201990.pdf.

Security and General

  •  A competent builder will have a clean and well organised and supervised site at all times. Workmen should as a minimum be wearing overalls and safety boots. This usually indicates that they are formally employed and reduces your security risk.
  • Establish what arrangements the builder has made for ablution facilities for the staff, removal of rubble and how regularly this will take place.
  • Only allow your builder access to the areas to be worked on and provide all facilities (toilet, etc) within that area. Temporary fencing panels can be hired or provided by the builder to prevent access to the remainder of your property.
  • Ensure that your contractor provides you with copies of the Identity Documents for all contractors that will be working on site.

A bit of Constantia History

This old photograph of Glen Dirk Farm was given to Don and Lynn Rowand (nee Parker) of Nova Zonnestraal by Niel Garlick of Chart Farm.  The extract from the letter which accompanied the photograph gives us a charming insight into life in bygone times in the Constantia Valley. Mrs Margie Garlick has very kindly granted us permission to publish this letter.



Re-cycling made easy

Recycling is the manufacturing of goods from previously used materials. This process helps our long term environmental sustainability by reducing harmful air, water and ground pollution and the size of solid waste landfill sites required. Nowadays this message is everywhere, on packaging, on plastic shopping bags, on Email messages etc. Western countries are far advanced when it comes to recycling as they have created awareness for decades (at schools, public campaigns etc.)  and they have also invested extensively in re-cycling processing plants – in Sweden, for example, only 5% of waste ends up in landfills.

Individuals can make a difference by modifying their lifestyles and taking positive steps towards a better and greener environment.  Some interesting  facts:

  • Capetonians produce an average of 1,5 – 2 kg each of solid waste a day and most of this comes from high-income households.
  • 1 ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees and results in 58% water and 64% energy savings compared with traditional processing and of course with far less air pollution
  • One recycled aluminium ‘tin can’ provides the energy to run a TV for three hours and 125 ‘tin cans’ can power a home for a day.
  • One recycled glass bottle can save the electricity needed to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a fluorescent bulb for 20 hours.
  • the destruction of maritime life as a result of plastic bags and other rubbish being dumped in the oceans is well known

If you do not already recycle or  do but find it rather a ‘hassle’ , EASYRECYCLING provides a weekly collection service aimed at making recycling simple. A clear plastic bag is provided each week and no sorting is required. Rates are very competitive at R 70 per month or R 350 for 6 months.

For further information visit the website: www.easyrecycling.co.za or call Nico on 084 359 3145 or email:info@easyrecycling.co.za


What’s on in your Valley

The Constantia Wine Route is launching its new website www.constantiawineroute.com at the end of October and is planning some new and exciting events in the Valley for 2014. This festive season we would like to encourage the residents of the Constantia Valley to look no further than the mountain on your doorstep and support their local neighbourhood vineyards …………. come and experience the magic and beauty of our Constantia Valley; sample our award winning wines, take a stroll through our beautiful greenbelts, enjoy a sensational  taste experience at any one of our many restaurants, wonder through the beautiful local stores, enjoy champagne on the lawns of the wineries or in the magnificent boutique hotels, join us for music in the vineyards in the summer season, ……………… come and enjoy this world class destination right on your doorstep.

The Constantia Wine Valley will be at The Constantia Gift Fair from the 6-10 November held at SARDA, Brommersvlei Road. There is great live entertainment on the weekend, space for the children to play and an opportunity to get a start on your Christmas shopping in a spectacular setting. There is late night trading until 9pm on Friday night with brilliant live entertainment from The Docetones. Entrance is R20 and a percentage is donated to SARDA. Come and meet your friends and support local……………

For any information, please contact Carryn Wiltshire on 083 6794495.


 


 

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