Decades old Kalk Bay aloes deadheaded to save them

The removal of 30-year-old aloes at Dale Brook in Kalk Bay was opposed recently by residents who brought a halt to the cutting down pro- cess, and demanded explanations.

The aloes were cut down but then replanted on Friday February 12 by a volunteer gardener who ex- plained that the plants were dying.

Resident Helenga Kingwell called the False Bay Echo with concerns about aloes being cut down, and said that herself and Gwendolyn Meyer had walked Kalk Bay door to door asking residents and business owners about the aloes.

The women discovered that the patch of garden along the railway line was under the care of the Kalk Bay Special Ratings Association and set up a meeting with Jimmy Alain Russell, chairman of the SRA, and resident Althea Fraser Pringle, who tends the garden.

Everyone at this point was under the impression that the land belonged to the City, and were calling for the City’s input about the cutting down of any trees.

However, when the False Bay Echo approached the City for comment, they said the land is actually owned by Metrorail and is therefore under their auspices.

Mr Russell explained that the area had been looking grubby before.

“Ms Pringle had volunteered her time and expertise to beautifying an area for the benefit of all,” Mr Russell said.

Ms Pringle then ex- plained that she had not just cut the aloes down but had replanted the heads.

“That whole row of aloes is dying and that’s how you save them, you chop the heads off, remove the rest, then replant the heads and then they regenerate,” she said.

Spokesperson for Metrorail, Riana Scott, said: “All Metrorail operational areas are governed by among others the Health and Safety, Legal Succession and Heavy Machinery acts.“To minimise risk and prevent injury in terms of these acts, any activity other than commuting is of necessity subject to a rigorous risk assessment.

“While not wanting to discourage civic efforts to beautify railway precincts, we recommend that individuals contact the area manager on hwicomb@- metrorail.co.za of the area in question, to declare their interest, authorise their presence and ensure that they are briefed in safety procedures.”

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