Valkenberg Redevelopment

Final BAR of the Proposed Redevelopment Of Valkenberg Hospital, (D:EA&DP Reference Number: 16/3/1/1/A7/17/3064/12)


DATES:              29 November 2013 – 9th January 2014

VENUES: 1.      Observatory Library: Opp. Cnr Station and Drake Roads,Observatory,7925

Tel:021 447 9017(Contact person: Cleo Delmore)

2.     Mowbray Library: 31 Main Road,Mowbray,7700

Tel: 021 689 1201(Contact person: Michelle Venter)

3.    Chand Website:

4.      Chand Environmental Consultants: Contact person: Kim Wyngaardt, 021-762 3050, Richmond Centre, 174-206 Main Road, Plumstead.

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The Envirocentre

The Envirocentre on the Valkenburg Hospital grounds has always been an important base for environmental groups, facilitating open discussion and innovation for almost two decades. Read Emma Bryce’s report Envirocentre_Bryce.

The recent Open House held by Chand to comply with the Public Engagement Process for the proposed redevelopment of the Valkenberg Hospital raised many concerns. The interested and affected parties were able to speak to the project team but many issues were still not resolved. One of these is the future of the Envirocentre.

The building is the old Valkenberg Dispensary, an attractive 65 year old building, with lovely wooden floors, high ceilings and original doors and window frames. It commands an inspiring view of Devil’s Peak and the Liesbeek Lake, and has a long open space in front of the building where seasonal ponds and grassy fields give refuge to frogs and toads, as well as numerous bird species.

However, as is clearly stated in the report, the Envirocentre is far more than an attractive building set in open grounds, it is in fact, where a space was created where diverse groups could interact and energise civil society.

The Chand proposal for their client, the Western Cape Provincial Administration and the Department of Health, does not preserve this important space. Instead the whole area is to be covered by extensive new buildings, destroying the heritage centre and the open areas leading to Liesbeek Lake.

It seems to be a sad waste of a lovely, historical  community space.



The view from the Envirocentre

The view from the Envirocentre






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Liesbeek River Cleaning A[n Observatory] Community Project – NINTH CLEANING DAY, Saturday 7 SEPTEMBER 2013

Hello hello,

It is time to do another Liesbeek River Cleaning Day!

The flooding that has happened recently will for sure keep us busy this Saturday.

Please see attached some photos taken by the Friends of the Liesbeek on the 28th August 2013.

It is like going to the gym to get ready for the Summer, if we put extra effort now the river will be looking beautiful in December!


Vina MacGillivray has secured the involvement of 20 people from Tsogo Sun group of hotels. This will boost up the team on Saturday and guarantee an immense removal of litter from the river.

We will try and put the boat in the water in order to clean the islands as well.

I hope to see you on Saturday. Meet in front of the Wild Fig Restaurant in Observatory at 8h30. We will be busy until 3h30 so come when you can. Bring gloves, wear old clothes and boots or sturdy closed shoes.

Keep well,


Tel. 0721453010

From Wild Fig restaurantFrom Station road


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Peninsula Paddle 2013

Support the Peninsula Paddle on Sunday 9th June!

Here is the route :


and the map:


The Friends of the Liesbeek will be providing hot soup and rolls at Milnerton Boat Club.

Come and join us!

For more info email or phone 0216715385.


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Flamboyant Flamingos grace the Liesbeek

The developments, by Friends of the Liesbeek with the City of Cape Town, to allow flood waters easier access to the pans situated at Raapenberg Wetland, have not only assisted and benefited the community in flood alleviation but have also benefited the wider bird community. Continue reading

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Sharing the Future of Urban Rivers

The 22nd of April is marked as Earth Day, a day to take a moment or two and consider your impact on the Earth. The Project Manager for the Liesbeek Maintenance Project, Jason, attended the Oaklands High School Earth Day programme. He gave a talk about the issues and importance of urban rivers both globally and in South Africa, entitled Urban Rivers: time to change course. The talk included raising awareness about the effect of storm water run-off on water quality, the ability for rivers to act as green corridors and promote biodiversity, as well as the concept for water sensitive cities design. The ultimate aim was to highlight the need for new thinking and to take different approaches for solving many of the issues around urban rivers.

After the talk, the school got the children involved with planting indigenous plants supplied by the Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area, for around their wetland garden.

A special thanks to Oaklands High School for having us on this day, and to be able to share our knowledge on the plight of urban rivers with the next generation of leaders.



Jason Mingo (left), Project Manager, receiving certificate of appreciation on behalf of  Friends of the Liesbeek from Hylton Arnolds (right), the school coordinator for the Earth Day programme.

Jason Mingo (left), Project Manager, receiving certificate of appreciation on behalf of Friends of the Liesbeek from Hylton Arnolds (right), the school coordinator for the Earth Day programme.


Jason Mingo with, from far left, Sabelo Memai and Tania Morkel from Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area and the learners, busy planting the donated plants.

Jason Mingo with, from far left, Sabelo Memai and Tania Morkel from Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area and the learners, busy planting the donated plants.


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Going Green

The harsh environment that is created when a river is canalized is often sterile and void of any aquatic life or the opportunity for  life to exist. In some countries, especially those faced with already dense urban areas, a paradigm shift is underway to change the  way we see canals. Continue reading

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Brandhouse make their mark along the Liesbeek

On the 03rd of October, 10 employees from Brandhouse came out and donated some of their time to cleaning up the litter along the Liesbeek River. The bank they worked on had been  cleared of dense stands of invasive vegetation, which had been largely overlooked, and subsequently the amount of litter that had accumulated during the period of neglect was immense. Luckily though, the spirit of the team from Brandhouse was just as great as they were determined to remove every bottle, wrapper and plastic bag they came across. In the end the team collected just over 70 bags of litter. We would like to thank Brandhouse and their employees for the donation of their time and support and we look forward to seeing you on the river in the future.

The team from brandhouse braved the cold and slightly wet weather to clean the banks of the Liesbeek River

A job well done, the result of hard work and an enthusiastic spirit!

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Workshop 18th October

Thank you to all who participated in the workshop.

We enjoyed a lovely walk  for more than an hour over the grassy fields to the Liesbeek and upriver towards River Park, returning on the other bank of the river, over the bridge at the weir and back to The Wild Fig for refreshments, kindly provided by the management. Thanks to all!

The discussion session yielded valuable information which will be summarised in a final report. This report will be circulated to the participants and we will discuss the results at our final “indaba” on Saturday 10th November. This will be held at the Envirocentre at Valkenberg. Everyone is welcome to join and bring a picnic to enjoy in the fresh air at the Envirocentre.

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Spring 2012 Newsletter

You may download our Spring 2012 Newsletter

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