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PORTFOLIO: WATERWAYS - June 2012

It would be really nice to have some good news to report for a change, but unfortunately the catalogue of disasters continues unabated.

We are still reduced to one 'Kingfisher' operated by the Environmental Resource Management Dept. of the City Council. This machine was subjected to a major overhaul last year at vast (ratepayers) expense, and upon being returned to operational service suffered its first breakdown some twenty minutes later. This appalling state of affairs continues to the present time, and at the time of writing the machine is yet again unserviceable. This machine is expected to carry out 96% of the total weed cutting requirement at Zandvlei and the Marina waterways, while its sister machine languishes at Little Princess Vlei, where the work load is 4% of the total. , This machine is still operated by the Parks and Gardens Dept. of the City Council.

Intensive lobbying by the MDGA has been, and is ongoing to get the second machine returned to Zandvlei, and to have both, once again, operated by Parks & Gardens. This department, has the experience, manpower, and budget to conduct weed cutting operations in an efficient manner. This is not the case with the Environmental Resource Management Dept.

Various meetings have taken place with the Sub-Council, and a further meeting is planned for the immediate future with the City Manager. We have been greatly assisted is this matter by the strenuous efforts of Councilor David D'Alton, who has been a tower of strength.

Throughout the last three years the one person who has done her utmost to meet our requirements despite her lack of manpower and budget, has been Cassandra Sheasby, who, sadly, resigned her position at the end of June, due to a total lack of support from her senior management.

It is hoped that some positive and long overdue action may be forthcoming following our meeting with the City Manager, and that adequate funding and responsible management will at last be put in place in respect of both the operation, and the regular and planned maintenance of both 'Kingfishers' 

The City (ratepayers) has funded several very expensive 'reports' on the management of the Zandvlei area, which of course includes the Marina and its waterways. Much of the content of these 'reports' was impractical, and unacceptable to the MDGA, such as the belief that the 'blind canals' on which many of us live, would only be cut once a season, i.e. four times per year! 

Fortunately some success has been achieved, in as much as that particular nonsense has been dropped, together with other impracticalities.

The answer to our waterway problems lies not in expensive 'reports' but in a sensible and practical approach to our waterway maintenance by the City Council. Had but a fraction of the money wasted on these 'reports' been directed to the maintenance and practical operation of the Kingfishers our weed problems would no longer exist.


John Ridley 
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