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
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.
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
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.
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.
This past week saw the highlight of International Coastal Cleanup, an initiative to remove litter and debris from the world’s beaches and waterways. Since the rivers in and around the City of Cape Town all flow out to sea, one way to reduce the impact of litter and debris in the ocean and on beaches is to clean the rivers and canals. This step was undertaken by an enthusiastic group of girls and boys from Rustenberg Girls’ High School and the SACS, who took time out of their Friday afternoon to clean the lower banks of the Liesbeek River. Continue reading
The workshop on the Rondebosch stretch of the Liesbeek was very instructive. We walked from the Rondebosch Library towards the river via the Belmont Office Park. I was very interested to hear that this area had been a flour mill in the past and that trains used to bring the grain in to be milled. We walked past the Pick and Pay parking area and felt that this area had been poorly designed and no consideration had been given to the potential of the river frontage. Instead the parking area encroached on river frontage and the shop loading bays created an unattractive and polluted space. Continuous abuse of the open space along Belmont Road and the ramp into the Liesbeek by vagrants has made this area unsanitary and unsafe. Residents and pedestrians often have to negotiate groups of up to six vagrants in this area, and human faeces and garbage are a revolting sight.
Crossing Belmont Road is hazardous even at the traffic lights and once across we again were amazed that the Liesbeek Trail was squeezed between the new apartment development and the canal banks. Although this area has always been maintained by the LMP team, much damage has been done to the plantings due to the building activities. Walking along the path we noticed the poorly designed exit to the new development which is directly on the Liesbeek trail. This is also where dustbins will be collected and the narrow road and sharp corner will cause a dangerous and unsanitary situation. The neighbours fronting on this have definitely lost property value and the general area is showing neglect. Further along building contraventions and encroachment on the road go unpunished, a sad trend for Rondebosch. This is especially worrisome as Rondebosch also has a special heritage area which seems to have little value to developers.
Walking over the pretty blue and white bridge on the way to Roslyn Park was a pleasure and we were glad that the path had finally been resurfaced properly. A resident said the path was well-used but also that pedestrians were using the large trees along it as toilet areas. Further along, past another apartment development again designed to use river frontage as parking and not capitalising on the calming greenery of the Liesbeek , we sympathised with the residents who have to tolerate another seven story building going up a few metres away, albeit a bit further from the river this time. This area is being irrevocably changed from a charming single residential area to large apartment blocks, unfortunately with no increase in access roads or facilities.
The wooden bridge over the Liesbeek across from the convent is damaged and needs to be repaired urgently. The num-num hedge requires better management and possible removal and replanting as the visibility is poor, and residents feel unsafe. There is a large stand of Spanish Reed (an invasive alien species) which needs to be removed. The bridge at Rouwkoop Road has been damaged as well, with parts having been pushed into the river. On the other side the LMP have planted lots of suurvygies to replace the grass and the lighting installed along the next section has addressed some of the safety issues. Residents on the other side of the river obviouslyhave a problem with maintenance of the river bank and vagrants are using the area. Here communication and co-operation with residents would allow the LMP Team to solve some of the issues.
On our return to the Library the participants filled in cards with what their vision would be of the river in 10 years time. Some of these thoughts included a people-friendly as well as a nature-friendly river; public awareness; signage; de-canalisation; a safe, well-demarcated walking and cycling route; lots of groundcover and trees, less shrubbery; and a historical trail. These thoughts can only be realised through consistent community engagement and activism – join us in protecting and improving the Liesbeek.
With temperatures slowly on the increase and the sun making itself known again, whispers of summer are heard in the air. This is more evident with the fact that the Great White Pelican’s have made a return to forage and bath along the Liesbeek River in Observatory. They are amazing animals to watch, these great behemoths of white feathers and yellow bill skating across the water. So keep a look out and send us any interesting photos of either the pelicans or any other animals you may see along the river. Continue reading
The coming week is filled with interesting events:
Monday 27th August GreenDrinks at Josephine Mill at 18h30 for 19h00
Wednesday 29th August FOL Workshop and Tour of SABreweries, Newlands 14h00
Friday 31st of August Full Moon Bike Ride along the Liesbeek starting at the River Club at 20h30