The Princess Vlei Forum’s fifth Annual General meeting, held in Grassy Park on 15 September 2016, was an opportunity to reflect on work done and challenges ahead. The focus of work in the last year has been to develop a working partnership with the City to ensure that the vlei is transformed in accordance with a vision generated by discussions with the local community.
This has been a slow process. The Forum signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the City in December last year, and worked with the City to get public comment on a Conceptual Development Framework for the Greater Princess Vlei Area, which was finalised in May this year. These documents signal the greenlight for the development of amenities and projects that will restore the vlei and make it a location for all to enjoy visiting.
The City has subsequently contracted parties to put forward proposals for initial improvements, which include a walkway around the Vlei, improved braai areas, and a bridge over the incoming canal on the northern end. The Forum is investigating additional donor funding for improvements such as a children’s play park and a community center.
The Forum has also been working with the City to improve the management of Princess Vlei, and are hoping to lobby funds to get a full time manager on the site.
Ald Belinda Walker and Cllr Kevin Southgate have been important allies in these efforts. Cllr Southgate addressed members at the AGM, and assured them that he was extremely committed to seeing real improvements at Princess Vlei. He has already made R100 000 available from ward funding, which was used to put in bollards that would prevent traffic driving all over the vlei. He stated that he would be making R200 000 available this year, and hopes to offer similar sums for each year of his term in Council.
In addition to this work, the Forum is actively involved in environmental education, and has been working with five local schools this year on a fynbos planting project at Princess Vlei, funded by the Table Mountain Fund. This work has included a workshop for 60 teachers, co-hosted with Frank Joubert Art Centre, on creating a wetland food chain mobile; workshops on birdlife at Princess Vlei, and work towards the Flight of Dreams parade which will take place on 24 September. There will be an exhibition of children’s art work celebrating the birds at Grassy Park Library, opening on 8 October.
A new executive was elected at the AGM, with six returning members and two new members. Official positions are still to be decided. The executive members are: Caspar Bam; Philip Bam; Malcolm Campbell; Wilma Maritz; Emma Oliver; Bridget Pitt; Gary Steward and Jill Williams.
The Forum is looking forward to an exciting year ahead, with the prospect of real changes finally being realized at Princess Vlei. All interested are encouraged to get involved in one of the many sub-committees.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.