Thirty-four people attended the meeting at St Stephen's church in Bergvliet, after the water problems led to a last minute shift in venue. At the front of the hall was the hand-painted Save Princess Vlei banner - a good reminder of how this organisation began in 2012.
The organisation only elects a management committee every two years. As this was not an election year, we could focus on engaging participants in discussing practical suggestions for some of the challenges facing us.
After attending to the treasurer's report, Chairperson Gary Stewart invited members of the management committee to briefly reflect on gains and challenges over the past ten years. Denisha Anand spoke about the ups and downs of being the first site manager at Princess Vlei, and then the project manager. She reflected on the progress made by the restoration project, with nearly 4 hectares now under active restoration or rehabilitation, and said that one of the highlights of her work at Princess Vlei was discovering a resident family of otters.
Bridget Pitt spoke about the schools work. She discussed photograph of a school child on a bare shore in 2013 - the learner said she was hoping to see gardens at Princess Vlei. Nine years later, that shoreline is a blaze of colour with flowering fynbos, showing the power of imagination and community effort. Gary Steward reflected on the gains made such as getting an MOA with the CIty, and the creation of a full-time supervisor's post at Princess Vlei, and gaining provincial heritage status for the GPVCA.
Some of the well supported proposals include: Creating a covered space on eastern shore for eco activities; lobbying to have the GPVCA relocated under management of the Biodiversity Branch; Revive the Princess Vlei Forum heritage committee and exploring how to reflect heritage elements including Khoe history; Raising fees from resourced schools, a Forum stall at the market, and using digital marketing aids such as snapscan & crowdfunding. There were also suggestions to stage the ballet of the Legend of Princess Vlei, which was first performed in the 1952.
The 2022 AGM was testimony once again to the power of community engagement in bringing fresh perspectives to ongoing issues. The Forum would like to thank all of those who made the effort to come and share their ideas.