Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis attended a meeting in Noordhoek to discuss problems facing the valley and the surrounding areas.
He was invited to the meeting at the Monkey Valley Resort on Monday September 5 by the Noordhoek Ratepayers’ Association (NRPA) and Noordhoek Environmental Action Group (NEAG).
Almost 100 people attended the meeting including deputy mayor Eddie Andrews, City speaker Felicity Purchase, Ward 69 councillor Patricia Francke and community leaders from Masiphumelele and Ocean View, according to NRPA chairman Brad Bing.
The two associations, said Mr Bing, had asked the mayor to support Noordhoek’s equine and tourism economies as part of the 2030 vision for the area and to take objections to planning applications seriously.
Dr Andrea Marais, chair of the NEAG, had urged the mayor to support their efforts to prepare the valley for the impact of climate change by helping to clear alien vegetation that is a fire risk and consumes water, by supporting Eskom’s rapid deployment of rooftop solar panels to reduce carbon emissions, and by protecting biodiversity in the valley, said Mr Bing.
A holistic wetland management plan was needed to preserve the wetlands in the area, according to Dr Marais.
“The wetlands are known to capture carbon, help in absorbing water during floods and release it during droughts, as well as buffer the effects of coastal changes with rising sea levels,” Dr Marais said in her presentation.
NRPA planning portfolio member Bas Zuidberg asked the mayor, on behalf of the NRPA, to reconsider the Houmoed phase 1 road extension.
“It will not give the operational benefits that the council envisions,” he said. “There is a simple and cost-effective alternative, but, most importantly, it will have a devastating effect on the wetland and, as a result, will create enormous long-term expenses for council when the wetland collapses.”
The NRPA’s Jonathan Mills said that while the mayor and his mayoral committee members hadn’t offered any solutions at the presentation, their responses showed they had take it seriously.
“They promised to follow-up and have already been proactive in following up to arrange meetings and communication with City officials,” Mr Mills said.
The mayor, in an email to the Echo, said, “The residents were honest about their concerns – especially around development in the valley and retaining the character of the village, and about the protection of the environment. I listened carefully to what they had to say and heard about many very laudable community initiatives. This is a very active, involved community with a wonderful volunteer spirit, and I enjoyed meeting with them very much.”