Waterways report - August 2008

As all Marina residents will have noticed, the state of our waterways in recent months has been excellent. The weed cutting programme initiated towards the end of summer by the C.T.C.C. (Mr Ricardo de la Cruz and his Parks and Gardens team) as well as the controlling of the opening of the vlei mouth (Mr Talcott Persent and his team) contributed to this and then once winter arrived, with the cold and wet, the entire waterways complex and vlei has been under natural control, acting like the estuary it is - the vlei mouth being permanently open now since early June.

There were a few hiccups and concerns when those enormous rains fell at the end of June, and where, even with the vlei mouth open, the canal levels rose to worrying highs. Those residents who have built at or above the prescribed levels above the canals had no worries, but those who havenít, began to realize their mistake!

On the down side, there were raw sewage spills into the canals in the Spearhead/Sonnet Quay waterways because the back-up system to the pump station did not work in the manner it should. As a result of a flurry of emails and telephone messages from Marina residents to the Association and the Association to the C.T.C.C., the problem was sorted out and then an emergency meeting was called to discuss how to deal with such problems should they happen again. This meeting was attended by the local counsellor, Cllr. Demetri Qually and he had with him representatives from the City Solid Waste disposal section as well as the City Health Department. These C.T.C.C. officials admitted that their systems had failed and apologized unreservedly (as they should) and I am happy to say that the positives that came out of this meeting were that a better form of communication between C.T.C.C. and ourselves, i.e. the residents of the Marina and the Exco., has now been put in place. Should such spillages occur again, reporting should be done with immediate effect to the Marina da Gama Association offices, to myself as the Waterways Rep. and to the new C.T.C.C. Call Center number *0860 103 054 *. As soon as such information is received, not only will the C.T.C.C. put their 24 hour emergency people into action to sort out the problem, but the Marina Association will help by emailing every resident with an email address, informing street reps. to spread the word. I will liaise by email with the Peninsula Canoe Club and Imperial Yacht Club by emailing the alert all their members. This way the vast majority of the users of these waters will be warned of the potential hazard of using polluted water in their different forms of recreation. The important message here is that communication sorts things out and stops problems. It is when people do not communicate properly that (many) problems occur.


On the canoeing front, local resident Graeme Solomon (who lives in Capstan Close), has continued to be the star of the local Western Cape canoeing scene. Not only was Graeme placed first in most the the canoe races that he entered into prior to the Berg River Marathon (mid-July, 2008), he came second in this 4 day, 248 km., gruelling event, raced between Paarl and Veldrif on the West Coast, by mere seconds to KZNís Hank McGregor. Considering that Graeme also competes as a Sub Veteran (i.e. age group between 35 and 39 years), he is still more than holding his own with much younger paddlers than himself. He further underlined his talent by again (every year since 1994) being selected to represent South Africa at a Canoe World Championships, when he will partner the young (Under 21) Milnerton paddler, Lance King, to the World Canoe Marathon Championships being held in the Czech Republic in September. Another local, Peninsula Canoe Club member and former resident of Marina da Gama, Nikki Mocke, is currently in Beijing with the South African Olympic team, where she is competing in the canoe sprints events. These took place during the second week of the games. Her husband, Dawid Mocke, won the annual Shamaal Dubai Surf ski classic and by placing in the top 3 in numerous other international surf ski events, saw him ending up 3 rd in the world rankings for 2008.

Another Peninsula Canoe Club lady paddler, Abbey Miedema, the Dusi Queen, having won that race in fine style in January, further cemented her river racing class when she again (for the 3 rd time), won the womenís section of the Berg River Marathon in July, placing in an amazing 29th position overall and within 10% of the menís winner.

During the season, 6 events were raced off on our local Zandvlei and Marina da Gama waters - the Twilight 12 early in March, the Marina Mini Marathon for K1ís early in May, the W.C.C.U. Canoe Marathon champs for K1ís and K2ís in mid-May, the Marina 16 in late-May and the Marina Mini marathon for K2ís in mid-July. All events were very successful and I trust that Marina residents were suitably impressed by the mass of colourful canoes and paddlers that flashed past their homes, in some of the races as many as six times in a single race! For those Marina residents who are interested, the Peninsula Canoe Club has an ongoing beginnerís programme where all equipment is supplied. If anyone is keen, just phone me for more details.
Rob Maclean
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