[Apologies for the long delayed Chair's Report of 2018. Here it is. Enjoy. —Ed]
Another year bites the dust!
This is the fourth year that I have been serving in the capacity of Chairperson of the Betty’s Bay Ratepayers Association. (BBRA). I will be standing down at the end of this term.
The BBRA remains one of the largest such Associations in the Overberg Region with a membership of 394. The strength of an organisation is dependent on new members with fresh ideas and energy getting involved. I am happy to report that five new members joined our ranks on committee level at the beginning of this office term with 2 additional members offering their expertise to our association. Please come forward if you can make a difference.
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it—H.E. Luccock
I wish to thank all members and non-members who voluntary made financial or other contributions that made it possible to render a service within our community.
Driving through Betty’s Bay, it is noteworthy how many building activities are currently taking place within the community. This is an indication that our village remains an attractive destination because of its current low density, nature orientation and peaceful environment. However, we must be aware that change is on our doorstep, which might influence the character of our village. During the past year we became aware of various demands with regards to development, such as container build housing, properties fenced in and the need for additional land for housing by individuals who claim that they work in Betty’s Bay and the Hangklip Area. There is also the most recent application to establish a new industry in Betty’s Bay, the so called ‘Aqua Farm’.
During the past year we continued the positive relationships with officials of the Overstrand Municipality. On two occasions we had talks with the Mayor and his team. Alder Councillor Coetzee affirmed his willingness to talk with both the BBRA and the Betty’s Bay community. As the outcome of the first talks did not bear much fruit in terms of action from the municipality on the issues raised, I suggest that the new Committee arrange a follow up meeting between the Mayor and the community, to keep him and his team accountable and enable community members to raise issues of concern in person. One of the mayor ‘wins’ for the BBRA was the appeal by us against the establishment of the ‘Upliftment Centre’ that was upheld, driven for us by Werner Sybrands. Once again, Overstrand Municipality will have to be held accountable to act on this decision should an appeal be tabled by the affected owner.
The Sand Dune Rehabilitation Plan/Program progressed well and the dust control program applied on Myrica and Wheeler roads was successful.
The security of Betty’s Bay remains a concern, especially because visitors to the area seem to lower their guard once on holiday. Further, the Minister of Police recently mentioned that criminals are now targeting rural communities. Therefor larger commitment from the community is needed. The Neighbourhood Watch is run by a small dedicated operational team under the leadership of Bill Steyn. It is however disappointing that so few members are willing to become actively involved in the operational side of the Watch.
Thank you to all our committee members for their dedication and participation.
The Vice-Chair, Heine Foot, particularly for his role in the management of the Crassula Hall, Adrian de Kock in handling our finances, and Liz Cartwright for the secretarial duties, assisted by Tim McGavin. As fundraiser for the BBRA, his contribution is valued. The participation of the other committee members is also acknowledged. Your active involvement within different portfolios resulted in effective teamwork. They are Pierre Combrinck (Roads and Storm water), Bill Steyn (Safety and Security), Jorika Rabie (Volunteer fire fighting), Richard Stark (Water and sanitation), Hilda van der Merwe (Beaches and amenities), Gerhard Bruce (Property) Renee Bish and Carol Clark (Conservation). Donn Ingle, our webmaster, has played a vital role to keep our members informed, especially since the termination of the Buzz in the absence of an editor.
The financial standing of the association is sound.
The treasurer prepared a comprehensive report. On the financial status of the association.
I would just like to highlight the following:
Crassula Hall operation surplus: R 13,573-46
Funds raised: R46, 857-50
Amounts of R20, 000 each were allocated to BBNW and Pringle Bay Fire Station.
main expenditure items for the last year are:
• Fire Fighters: R30, 254-87
For the purchase of radios,
roaming licence and
refurbishing of the fire station
• Neighbourhood Watch R 7,946-96
For the purchase of radios,
ancillary equipment and insurance
of night vision equipment
Of the sundry expenses the following are of note:
Donation to Pringle Bay Paramedics R 10,000-00. Headed by Morné Lloyd, they render a voluntary service – also for Betty’s Bay
• : The BBRA hold, on a custodian basis, money for the Dune interest group, Eco Centre and Pilates group, totalling R 16,350-07.
• -Earmarked for specific purposes, with the bulk for the use of the Neighbourhood Watch and the Fire Fighters.
•Interest earned: R22, 191-65
I would like to thank members of the BBRA for generous contributions and committee members who put in many hours to raise funds. Many thanks to Adrian, our treasurer, for a job well done.
There was a proposal from one of the members to increase the membership fee from R60 to R75 per annum, which will be tabled at the AGM.
SPECIAL RATES AREA
In the changed environment it was decided to investigate the viability of a special rates area more vigorously. A project team under the leadership of Bill Steyn was formed. Meetings were held with Overstrand Municipality as well as Kleinmond Ratepayer’s Association in this regard. However it remains a lengthy process and it will not result in an overnight quick fix. Public participation from our local community forms an integral part of the process.
1. Ward 10
As chairperson I represent the BBRA on the Municipal Ward Committee, ward 10, with Fanie Krige, ward counsellor, as chairperson.
The Ward Committee is the official channel of communication between the community and Municipality regarding municipal matters. At the recent Overstrand Ward Committee Summit, this was once again confirmed. Therefor the attendance of these monthly meetings, is of utmost importance. A quarterly public feedback sessions by the Ward Councillor provides a platform for public participation. As this is the opportunity for the ratepayer to raise issues of concerns, poor attendance of these sessions are disappointing. You are once again encouraged to make use of this opportunity.
The 2019/2020 municipal integrated development planning and budget (IDP) wish list has been approved after reprioritisation and finalisation. Projects identified and approved for Betty’s Bay are as follows:
Storm water channels: R80, 000
Street names: R 10,000
Ablution facilities: R50, 000 -
(Jocks Bay and Silversands)
Upgrading of information boards at public areas in the Hangklip Area: R20, 000
There are still ward specific projects pending from the 2018/19 budget.
This include: Safety cameras at the entrances of Hangklip Area – R50,000, for which tender approval is in process;
Storm water piping, Access road – R150, 000 and Street name boards – R20, 000 due to have commenced in November this year.
Development of vlei areas, especially at the main beach, will follow after February 2019.
All three ratepayers associations in the Hangklip area are concerned about road safety on the R44 (Clarence Drive) which had been discussed at ward committee meetings. The situation is however complex, as Clarence Drive is a Provincial road within a municipal area. BBRA is striving for the implementation of speed calming measures. To strengthen our endeavours, we request members from the community to sign a petition currently being circulated by the BBRA to enlist support for this important matter.
During a joint ward committee meeting (ward 9 and 10) held with the mayor on 22 October 2018 in Protea dorp community hall, a lot of concerns were raised. At this meeting it was confirmed that the mandate of the consultant investigating possible land for housing, was extended to include Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay and Rooi-Els.
2. Safety and Security
Bill Steyn holds the portfolio of Safety and Security. As such, he also co-ordinates the Betty’s Bay Neighbourhood Watch (BBNW), established by the initiative of the BBRA. The two organisations work closely together. The BBNW is still accredited by the Western Cape Government’s Department of Community Safety (DOCS) and operates under the Hangklip-Kleinmond Community Police Forum (CPF). A separate account was opened to apply for funds from DOCS.
The BBNW is part of the weekly Jocom meeting at which operational issues are discussed with the police, municipal law enforcement and other neighbourhood watches from Kleinmond, Pringle Bay and Rooi Els.
The main challenge still, is to change the mind set of owners who fail to secure their homes properly and/ or upgrade their alarm systems. It is therefore necessary to be always one step ahead of an intrusion. Vigilance is important as criminals are also active, especially during the holiday periods and Festive Season.
The outer limit of your potential is determined solely by your own beliefs and confidence in what you think is possible—Brian Tracy
During the course of this year we experienced a change amongst the security service providers, with Sanddown Bay being sold to Safe, now trading as Sanddown Bay Security. WST was taken over by Bolt Security. In the process we lost one dedicated response vehicle. In view of the fact that criminals are now targeting rural areas, residents are once again urged to check and maintain, and where necessary, upgrade their security systems.
With the shortage of active operational volunteers in the BBNW it is foreseen that technology will have to play a bigger role in future. An example is the installation of cameras that can act as a force multiplier. This option, however, is subject to 24/7 monitoring. This is however not a quick solution, as there are some challenges, i.e. the establishment of a control room and a dedicated response team.
3. Beaches, Amenities and Dune Management
The condition of public amenities is inspected regularly and shortcomings brought to the attention of the Municipality by the portfolio manager, Hilda van der Merwe.
The Sand dune Stabilization Maintenance Management Plan (MMP) implemented, proves to be successful, as was discussed during a recent meeting during November with the Overstrand Municipality Environmental Services.
Funds for this project remains a challenge, as no International funding could be obtained during 2018. Therefor council is also dependent on National and Provincial Government for financial assistance.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Godlieb van der Merwe, a property owner not permanently resident in Betty’s Bay, who is the driving force behind this project.
4. Property, Planning and Development
Working with the Municipal Building Inspector, Sherwin Roussouw, we highlight those houses which were affecting the attractiveness of the town, and applied pressure on the owners to improve the condition of their respective properties. Some owners were taken to court by the municipality and fined.
Applications by owners to change Title Deeds, get relief from building errors made in the past and rezoning requests
This process has, in the main, been handled promptly by the BBRA with common sense prevailing in all instances. However, where changes are seen to threaten the unique environment or history of Bettys Bay, strong objections are submitted to the Municipality. One of the examples where strong objections were lodged, is the case of the controversial ‘upliftment centre in High Level road, Sunnyseas, which paid off in the end.
There will always be pressure on Bettys Bay to become more commercialised with housing estates, retail outlets etc. being requested as Bettys Bay is one of the only few remaining Overstrand areas which have land which can be developed. Our focus is to maintain the character of Bettys Bay as long as we can. We are continually applying pressure on the Municipality to consistently apply the local bylaws and Title Deed restrictions.
5. Roads and Storm Water
The lack of capital funding remains the biggest problem to address an area of 90 km gravel roads in the Hangklip area, with most of these roads in Betty’s Bay. Only operational funds are available for the day to day maintenance of gravel roads.
Many residents continuously complain about the poor condition of the roads. The situation can only change once capital funding becomes available.
A discussion with the mayor and officials during 2018, where the subject of roads and storm water was also addressed, yielded few positive results although they had a sympathetic ear.
During this financial year, funds were made available to repair two roads and apply the dust control method on Wheeler from Porter, north towards the chapel. The other road is a portion of Disa – the section between Clarence and Porter drive.
One aspect that has not been addressed by the Municipality is the large number of roads currently so narrow that two- way traffic is impossible, due to the fact that the road verges are not cut clear. This is especially dangerous in a case of emergency.
6. Water, Waste and Sanitation
Water purification has been outsourced to a private company by the name of Viola.
During the past year there were many incidents of burst pipes. This will remain unchanged until the old reticulation system in use in many areas of Betty’s Bay, has been upgraded. The upgrading of this system will only materialize once funds are made available for this project within the capital budget.
The water test results are received on a regular basis. During 2018 no contamination of water was detected. In the event of discrepancies, the portfolio manager addresses the problem with the local authority in person.
7. Fire fighting
Due to the small number of volunteer fire fighters in Betty’s Bay, there was an amalgamation of our volunteers with the Pringle Bay Volunteer group.
The facility allocated to the volunteers behind the library in Betty’s Bay are still utilized and we have the use of a ‘bakkie sakkie’ pump as a first response in the case of an emergency. As Bettys Bay forms part of the Overberg HIGH FIRE RISK area, we have approved the erection of notices (Bokkie boards), in our community.
All residents and visitors are sensitized to the fact that we are privileged to reside within a Fynbos environment. Therefor the call to be very careful when having an outdoor braai. We recommend that you have a connected garden hose readily available and that all fires/coals are put out completely. If you have an indoor fire, ensure that the coals are cold before discarding it outdoors.
Communication with our members is primarily though the BBRA Web Page, our electronic messenger. We are fortunate to have Donn Ingle as our webmaster. Thank you for a job well done and the time spent in front of the computer. Donn is willing to manage our web page during 2019 with Gerhard Bruce acting in support as he will not be available for managing the property portfolio.
You are encouraged to read our web page regularly as we would like to keep our members up to date with community affairs, matters discussed and action taken by the committee. We urge our members to take an active interest in the web page, by supplying articles of interest to the community.
We endeavour to make the webpage interactive and currently do not get enough articles.
It is interesting to note that on average there are 1,464 visitors per months. In November it picked up to 2,275.
Thank you to the community for allowing me to be part of the BBRA team during the past four years. It was a good innings – many a time single runs scored, but there were also boundaries. Your support to me personally in my capacity as the chairperson, is appreciated.
I will be leaving to invest more time in the SANParks Honorary Rangers, where I chair the Agulhas Region, rendering a service to two parks, namely Agulhas and Bontebok.
I am excited about the members who availed themselves for the committee of 2019. This has the promise of fresh ideas and new energy taking the BBRA forward.
Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work — Vince Lombardi
Seasonal Greetings to you all. May 2019 meet your expectations.
Rudi Perold , Chairperson