The Princess Vlei Forum's 10th AGM provided a wonderful opportunity for old and new Princess Vlei champions to come together and plot out the future of the organisation.
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.
Robin Oaks from the Community Think Tank spoke about the market at Princess Vlei. The organisation is running the market, which provides an opportunity to generate revenue to use on improvements at Princess Vlei. Robin said his organisation was dedicated to promoting local crafts, Cultural heritage, and community spirit. About 250 vendors are registered with the market, which has been successfully trading every Saturday providing livelihoods and a range of offerings for local visitors. Clarina De freitas spoke about the contributions made by the De Freitas family and the Jacobs family to the fish market and fruit and veg market held at PV historically, and all agreed that they would discuss ways to be part of the market going forward.
Participants then divided into interest groups to discuss the environmetn & infrastructure at Princess Vlei; Fundraising; and Community engagement; The groups were encouraged to focus on coming up with concrete proposals. These were then presented, and put up on the wall. Members were invited to put a dot next to proposals they strongly supported.
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.
An important resolution taken at the AGM was the decision to charge membership fees. This is partly to raise much needed funds, as well as to avoid having inactive members on the books. The fee of R100 per member and R200 per organisation was proposed, with the management committee to resolve how this should be implemented.
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.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.