MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF
THE FRIENDS OF ALBERTS FARM CONSERVERVANCY
HELD ON 13 JUNE 2016
PRESENT: Julie Gouws, (Chairman), Charles Cator, Meyer Lange, Nina Venjakob,
Colleen Rood, Brendan Lombard, Steve Kotze, Martijn Vreugde, Philip
Kruger, Brenda Neil and Ros Maree
APOLOGIES: Wayne van der Schaaf, Willie Strauss
|MINUTES AND ATTENDANCE REGISTER
Julie welcomed everyone to the 2016 Annual General Meeting. An attendance register was circulated.
Just this weekend, while walking along one of the familiar rocky ridges that rise on the northern section of Alberts Farm, I found myself feeling both privileged to have such a wonderful team of people around me as fellow committee members and (honestly) a little overwhelmed at the task before us all.
Yet I feel it in the very heart of me that on the day we decided to focus on Conservation initiatives, it was also the day which the spirits of the Stone Age inhabitants from thousands of millennia ago as well as the spirits of the Iron Age folk that would have traded and farmed on these slopes because of the proximity to the irreplaceable Artesian Spring and finally, those of the Alberts family themselves who also toiled on this land and whose graves are a solemn reminder of their lives here, all of them would have given a collective sigh of relief through sheer gratitude.
We are at a critical juncture currently. The state of affairs at Alberts Farm is dire:
1. Though filled with good people, policies and sound by-laws, the City
of Johannesburg has so many demands upon its resources that
public open spaces and parks tend to be overlooked and budgets
not easily accessible for conservation initiatives
2. In spite of excellent legislation protecting water resources as well as
bio-diversity at a National and Provincial government level, this
seldom compels land owners to adhere to such legislation
especially in tough economic times
3. The result is that Alberts Farm is riddled with alien vegetation,
streams which are highly eroded due to poor storm water
management as suburbia densifies, illegal dumping, illegal plastic
recycling in our streams, pollution, more vagrants than we can
count, one failed dam wall and another which is leaking
precariously and at risk of failing too. Add to this the stresses that
increased demand for outdoor human recreational activities such as
trail running, fishing, mountain biking, picnicking, dog walking,
outdoor events and fairs places on the environment and it is
possible to foresee entire eco-systems are at risk in areas that
should be conservation zones
In spite of the above, or perhaps because of the above, we believe that the right environmental planning is imperative to improve Alberts Farm if the community is to derive sustainable enjoyment from the area. A sincere willingness to participate in a constructive manner with the City of Johannesburg will help us a long way in finding workable solutions. Because we will need to look to the community for increased fundraising, communication with the residents of Greymont, Northcliff, Albertskroon, Waterval Estate and surrounds will need to be more strategic and targeted.
Over the coming months we will be finalising the environmental management plan and setting operational budgets to present to the City for approval. This Plan will see Alberts Farm managed according to “zone” specific needs, the various wetlands restored and remediated as well as the grasslands rehabilitated.
If we are indeed the group of proud Joburg residents who help return Alberts Farm to as close to a pristine state as possible in a modern 21ST century city, surely the ancient spirits who came before us will sing and dance at Alberts Farm once more.
|ELECTION OF COMMITTEE
The committee having been dissolved, a new committee was elected as follows:
Julie Gouws (Chairman), nominated by Ros and seconded by Nina
Colleen Rood (Vice Chairman), nominated by Nina and seconded by Martijn
Meyer Lange (Treasurer), nominated by Nina and seconded by Brendan
Ros Maree (Secretary)
Brendan Lombard (Fundraising Co-ordinator)
Martijn Vreugde (Publicity)
Steve Kotze (Ward Councillor)
Philip Kruger (Designated incumbent Ward Councillor)
Wayne van der Schaaff
Earlier in 2016, the Committee agreed on changes to our Constitution which need to be formally adopted. This was done and a copy of the new Constitution circulated for signature.
The at future AGM’s, the Treasurer will be doing the financial reports. However, it was reported that for the Financial Year ended 28 Feb 2016, cash carried forward to the new financial year was R11 352,28. This figure is inadequate for what we need going forward.
Julie received an email from Lucky Moticoe at SARS requesting more details are needed. For example, we need to elaborate on our objectives and activities as well as describe the activities used to achieve our objectives. He also asked for a copy of a dated, signed Constitution.
Nothing new to report. Willie is exploring the possibility of a contact of his assisting us.
|CONSERVATION AND REMOVAL OF ALIENS
Daniel is no longer employed but Robert is available for two days a week from July. As it is winter and the dry season, there is not much that can be done with alien invasive plants. We will utilise Robert on projects such as path reinforcement, maintenance, general clean ups, etc.
Julie and Colleen did a walkabout and saw that some black wattles have been cut down but have been left lying there. Julie has been in touch with Bishop and Phillip at City Parks. They have said that we need a meeting with Tumi and Zamile, who are from the Conservation and Ecosystems departments respectively.
Colleen said that small steps are being made and things are coming together in terms of the Environmental Management Plan. We are at the stage where we can start having smaller, more focussed meetings on specific subjects relating to the overall plan. Next one is 17 June regarding fundraising.
Julie said that Paul Fairall’s health is much improved and we hope finish the wetland remediation report soon.
We have 50kg of boerewors, condiments, serviettes etc due to the event where we were to sell boerewors rolls being washed out and we need to find some other outlet to sell them. Nina suggested selling them at the full moon picnic and it was also suggested we set up a stall at the jungle gym after the parkrun. This could become a regular event, possibly the first Saturday of each month.
Brendan said a number of people have confirmed stalls but some have not yet paid. Nicqui will do the entertainment but asked that we don’t have a generator for this as it is disturbing. We will lead electricity from William’s house instead.
We will be doing hamburgers, boerewors rolls and cool drinks and Meyer suggested we use a ticket system where people buy tickets for the different items. We will also have a book stall and jumble/white elephant stall.
Other food stalls are the samosas etc and Plaaskombuis from Bergbron Nursery. Ros suggested they be asked to also have a plant stall.
Lew Geffen, the DA, Greymont Residents Forum will all have stalls.
The question of a liquor licence was mentioned, but Julie said that we would need to get approval to hold the fair first, which she was trying to do.
We would like to have a raffle but need some prizes. Philip suggested something from SAB and Ros asked Brendan if he could get something from Builders Warehouse similar to the drill they gave us last year.
Brenda said that the jumping castle is available but we would need a bakkie to transport it.
Martijn said that he would like to post an up-dated marketing plan on the website.
Sponsors – Julie said she is looking for sponsors for the event. The costs include toilets, ponies, advertising, security. She thought the fixed costs would amount to about R9 000 or R10 000 and we expect advertising costs to be around R10,000.
Steve suggested helicopter flips and he will speak to someone about this.
Steve said that we should have a media partner and the question of a PR student has been suggested.
Signage – Julie said that the signage which has been put up is better but is still not perfect. Nina asked for a quad bike sign at the entrance as when you tell people it is not permitted they say there is no sign prohibiting them.
Website – Martijn said that the Albertsfarm.org site is up and running. He asked for any interesting information which can be added to it.
Happy Dog Walker – She has not been seen recently.
JUMA and JURA – In general this went off very well and we received
R10 250 from them as a donation.
However there were a few concerns. One is that not all the tape was collected after the races and also a hole was dug at the crossing to Greymont Park and not filled in. They also deviated from the route slightly and did some damage coming down the ridge. With the recent rain the soil is now washing away. We will have to monitor these paths and see if we can prevent them eroding further.
Cycling – Willie Esterhuizen of Red Hub Cycling has approached Julie about schools doing cycling on the farm. This would involve 60 to 200 cyclists twice a week and once a weekend. We feel there is some merit in consolidating the cycling paths for the overall benefit of the environment. Currently, there are too many paths all over the farm which is detriment to biodiversity. The request has now been sent to City of Joburg Water & Biodiversity department to authorise and comment upon.
Bergbron Development – It appears there is a link between a possible acquifer at this development to the sources of the Klein Jukskei and the Braamfontein Spruit/Alberts Farm. This development could damage this acquifer but the developers will not allow experts access to the site. The BP garage could also be contaminating the water.
Attending other meetings – Colleen suggested that we should attend residents association meetings etc in order to be a voice for Alberts Farm. Martijn said that we already attend Greymont Residents Forum meetings. Other suggestions were Northcliff, Albertskroon, Waterfall Estate etc.
The next meeting of the Management Committee will take place on 11 July 2016 at 7pm at 61 Tenth Street, Greymont.