Baboons, silver trees, cleaning and planning under the spotlight at AGM

Outgoing ward councillor Liz Brunette, second left, with CRRA committee members, from left, Gordon Chunnett, Robert Thorp, Clive McDowell, chairperson Sheila Camerer, manager John Hesom and Mike Eayrs. Izabelle Franzen and Claire Lester are missing from the picture.

The DA’s mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis was the guest speaker at the Constantia Residents and Ratepayers’ Association’s annual general meeting, at a Groote Constantia restaurant, on Monday night.

He told the meeting that one of his priorities was to make Cape Town self sufficient in meeting its energy needs.

About 80 members of the association attended, along with outgoing ward 62 councillor Liz Brunette and the DA’s Ward 62 candidate, Emile Langenhoven, and his wife, Lindsay.

Items on the agenda included planning applications for Purple Rayn in Bellvue Avenue (“Mayor to decide hotel’s fate,” Bulletin, December 10, 2020) and a proposal by the City to hike the rent for the Claremont Cricket Club, located in the Constantia sport precinct, from R4 000 to R45 000 a month, which CRRA chairwoman Sheila Camerer said would render the club financially unviable.

The CRRA’s Dr Clive McDowell has collected silver tree seeds from Schoenstatt Estate (“Saving Schoenstatt’s silver trees,” Bulletin, March 25) for propagation at De Hel conservation area. The meeting heard that he had also battled with City contractors to not cut the verge on the M3 and Constantia Main Road, where there is an abundance of indigenous species.

The Clean Constantia Project has been initiated by Pristine Earth Collective (PEC) to clean up litter from Constantia streets and parks, according to Ms Camerer. It is a collaboration with the CRRA, Constantia Watch, the Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts and the City of Cape Town, she said.

Committee member Gordon Chunnett has been leading efforts to find solutions to baboons clashing with humans in the valley. Resolving the issue seems remote due to a lack of effective co-operation between the three main authorities, SANParks, the City and CapeNature, according to Ms Camerer She said the City had not been attending baboon meetings to which Mr Hill-Lewis said he would follow up.

Another issue was lack of cellphone reception in the valley, which Ms Camerer said was because there were not enough cell masts, according to Vodacom.

Residents quizzed Mr Hill-Lewis on what they said were the extraordinarily high salaries for City managers, the train system and the theft of 13km of copper cable, water costs, baboons and the latest film industry by-law.

Membership was increased to R650 a year.

Seeds have been collected from silver tree at Schoenstatt Estate for propagation at De Hel conservation area.