SA’s top canoeing talent heads for the Marina

Marina residents can look forward to an exciting three days of sport as the Peninsula Canoe Club, in association with the Western Cape Canoe Union and Canoeing South Africa, hosts the 2021 SA Canoe Marathon Championships on Zandvlei and the Marina da Gama canals. This highly prestigious event includes a number of top canoeists from the Marina, who we’re proud to introduce below.

First, we’re grateful to Thibault Walk resident and 2021 championship contender, Rob MacLean, for providing the full details of the programme, as follows:

The championships take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All events will start with paddlers facing north towards the back of Table Mountain and from a line between buoys in front of Zandvlei Sports Club, where the Peninsula Canoe Club and Imperial Yacht Club are based.

Paddlers will race up the vlei turning right at four red buoys before heading north of Little Australia Island to the gap between Park Island and Wildwood Island, where the bird hide is located. Once through the gap, paddlers will turn right (south) onto the north-south canal between Park Island and Park Island residential, known as Park Island East.

They will proceed under the bridge onto Park Island and onto the water known as Tumbler’s Tack North between Park Island and Eastlake Island before turning right (west) back into Zandvlei.

Back in the vlei, they will turn left (south) and paddle down into The Serpentine, where they will turn right around the three red buoys moored there.

They will then paddle back onto the vlei heading north towards the clubhouse. Shortly before reaching the clubhouse, they will take-out on a wooden jetty moored on the vlei shore and portage approximately 60m to a second wooden jetty that is within the club premises. Here, they will put-in and proceed on with their event. This constitutes one full lap. The various age groups race different numbers of laps.

Friday’s programme
• K1 = a single-seater canoe.
• K2 = a double-seater canoe
09h30 K1 U23 Men.
09h35 K1 U23 Women
12h00 K1 Junior Boys and Girls, U18 U16 U14
14h30 K1 Men’s short course
15h00 K1 Women’s short course

Saturday’s programme
08h15 K1 Masters’ categories, Men and Women
10h00 K1 Junior Boys and Girls, U12, U10 U8
11h00 K2 Juniors Boys U18, U16 U14
14h15 K1 Senior Men and Women

Sunday’s programme
08h15 K2 Masters’ categories, Men and Women
10h45 K2 Senior Men and Women

From the results of these championships, a Canoeing South Africa marathon team will be selected to travel to Romania later this year to represent the country – pandemic permitting.

Meet the Marina contenders

It’s great to report that Marina da Gama will be represented by four canoeists during this year’s SA Canoe Marathon Championships. They are Mike Halliday, who lives in Park Island Walk, Graeme and Hannah Solomon, from Capstan Close, and Rob, a Thibault Walk resident.

Mike Halliday

They will be competing in the following categories: Mike – Masters (70 years plus); Rob – Masters (65-69 years), Graeme – Masters (40-44 years); and Hannah – Guppy class.

Graeme Solomon

Graeme is one of South Africa’s most iconic canoeists, having represented the country over a period of around 16 years in sprints and marathons in the open Senior classes as well as in the Masters’ classes. Mike and Rob have both represented the country in the Masters’ classes.

Rob MacLean

Hannah is only in her first year of competitive paddling. But with the combined credentials of her dad, Graeme, and mum Megan Kelly – who has also represented SA in the Masters’ category – she undoubtedly comes from an outstanding gene pool.

Hannah and Graeme Solomon

As Rob says: “Please support all the paddlers during their events.”

Meet gardening rep, Andrea Pycroft

Originally from Zimbabwe, Andrea Pycroft moved to Cannon Island from Wynberg with her husband, Anthony, and their two children in March 2017.

While her daughter was a school, she taught art at Herschel Girls’ School, and still loves to paint birds and wildlife in her chosen mediums, watercolour and acrylic. In Zimbabwe, she ran her own company, Andy Pandy, which specialised in children’s nursery décor. She enjoys the outdoors and regularly hikes in the mountains or walks the Muizenberg to Kalk Bay route.

Earlier this year, Andrea was approached to be the contact person for the Marina Gardeners when they are in Cannon Island and Eastlake Island. She loves gardening and really wants to help the Marina Gardeners restore neglected parts of our beautiful neighbourhood.

The Marina Gardeners work every Tuesday in a different part of the Marina. So, every third Tuesday, they are in Cannon Island/Eastlake Island with Andrea. This past Tuesday, Andrea and the gardening team led by Staffa Hussein, tackled the pathway in Cable Close, where roots were pushing up the bricks. The team also cleared and replenished the flowerbeds at the Tiller Arm parking area with various water-wise plants.

The Eastlake Island irrigation system is scheduled to be fine-tuned. But, until this is done, it would be great if someone could volunteer to water the new beds that Andrea and Staffa’s team create.

The team also cleared the overgrown flowerbeds in Turk’s Head and plan to replenish the plants there in due course. Again, we’d very much appreciate it if someone could volunteer to water these beds.

If you have any plants you wish to donate, if you can assist with watering flower beds, or if you want to raise concerns about any of the public open spaces in Eastlake Island or Cannon Island, please feel free to contact Andrea on 084 368 8763 or email the Marina da Gama Association on

Please remember that verges are the resident’s responsibility.

Meanwhile, we’re sure you will agree that the Marina Gardeners, Staffa and Andrea accomplished quite a lot last Tuesday.

In the sewer with City engineer Andrew Taylor

We recently caught up with City of Cape Town (CoCT) engineer Andrew Taylor, who was one of the speakers at a recent public meeting at the Zandvlei Lookout to discuss the state of our waterways. We were particularly keen to know more about the efforts his department is making to bring local sewerage systems up to an acceptable standard and where the Marina fits into the work programme.

At the meeting, you mentioned that CoCT is spending significant sums on our sewerage infrastructure. Is there a figure attached to that investment?

Between July 2019 and June 2021, CoCT allocated approximately R350 million towards upgrading and rehabilitating the sewage network. The Zandvlei-specific figures are as follows:

  • Muizenberg sewer relining – R4 500 000
  • Albertyn Road sewer cleaning – R50 000
  • Axminster Road and Clifton Road sewer cleaning – R1 200 000
  • New pump station in Military Road, Retreat Main refurbishment and re-lining of sewers – R82 000 000

This investment is over and above the regular, day-to-day blockage clearing and other maintenance work.

One of the issues you brought up were the leaking pipes at Surfers’ Corner. Apparently, they were full of holes so sand was coming in and causing blockages. You sent cameras down to inspect and followed up by cleaning out the pipes and covering them with fibreglass socks. We’d would love you to explain this process in more detail.
We clean the pipes thoroughly using high-pressure water jets, circular squeegees and any other appropriate tool. Next, a resin-impregnated tube, the liner, made of felt-like material is either pulled through the inside of sewer line, not on the outside; or inserted using water pressure from manhole to manhole, whichever method best suits the situation. The liner is then inflated with a water balloon and cured over several hours. This balloon is withdrawn once the resin has hardened. This method is known as a cured in place pipe, or CIPP.

How much of the Muizenberg area has undergone this process?
So far, we have covered the beachfront and Atlantic Road as far down as Zandvlei as well as the area on the mountain side of the Main Road. This was by far the largest source of sand infiltrating the sewer system. If all goes according to plan, we will line the Old Village in Muizenberg next, hopefully starting in the coming financial year.

This sounds like a good news story that more people would be interested in knowing about. How long do the pipes last once the fibreglass socks are on – and why does this method work well?
We have used CIPP for at least 25 years and the treated pipes are still 100% functional. The supplier is confident of achieving a 50-year life span. But to quote an internet source: “The warranty covers 50 years, but the lining can last longer than this, even to around 100 years.”

We use CIPP as the costs are now comparable to other methods, there are no joints in the line and, with no excavation involved, it is relatively non-intrusive. It has proved to be impervious to water either entering into or seeping out of the pipe.

What about the Axminster sewer, which also came up at the meeting. After extensive cleaning, is this pipeline now safe?
If by safe you mean there is no danger of flooding or spillages, then yes. We have a high degree of confidence that it has been effectively cleaned. We will, however, monitor it very carefully over the next year for signs of irregular or excessive flow.

What is the pipeline system in Marina da Gama and under the vlei like? Are we in danger of extensive leaks?
Marina da Gama has a relatively low incidence of blockages but has not yet undergone an extensive survey/inspection. The pipeline under the vlei is a cast iron pipe encased in concrete and supported by concrete piles. In 2014, I also lined the pipe using the CIPP method just to make sure there was no impending disaster.

When will the new pump station in Military Road/Seawinds be completed and are we likely to stop having leaks into the Sand River once it is finished?
The new Low Lift pump station is almost completed and should be commissioned by the end of this month. We have already seen a dramatic reduction of sewage flowing into the Sand River and the regular spills will certainly cease. No one can guarantee any mechanical installation. That said, the new station certainly has far better backup systems in place. Load shedding comes to mind here.

It is not only the pump station that has been problematic in the past. The sewer pipeline between Low Lift and Retreat Main has been in a state of collapse for a while, causing several major spills. We rehabilitated this 1200mm pipeline using the CIPP method and re-laid a section as part of the pump station contract. We are now free of blockages and sewer spills from that source, which adds up to a huge success. In addition, we also refurbished the Retreat Main pump station and brought it up to modern standards.

All of these works were executed as part of the Low Lift contract.

Photo: Racine Edwardes

You said that you have two other suburbs to do and then intend to focus on the pipes in Vrygrond. I imagine that is a very big job as the area has grown and there probably isn’t enough infrastructure. What would your plan be there and how would it affect Marina da Gama and Zandvlei?
We are busy cleaning 50km of pipe in the Lotus River before going on to Ocean View. Next, we will cover Seawinds and Lavender Hill, which have a high incidence of blockages. This phase will include as much of Vrygrond as possible if the situation there allows. Please take note that the stormwater system in Vrygrond does not discharge into the Marina or Zandvlei. It flows down to the south.

It is still early days, but we are seeing a reduction in blockages in Lotus River, so we certainly hope to see the same trend wherever else we work. Apart from improving living conditions for residents in these suburbs, the desired effect would be to lower the nutritional and bacteriological load being deposited into the vlei. This is an unknown quantity for us. I do not know if anyone has ever actually measured the end result of such a large operation.

Quarterly review from the MDGA chairman

As the first quarter of the year comes to a close, the heavy rains we experienced earlier this month are a reminder that another change of season is also upon us. It has been a busy and intense three months since my last message after 2021 more or less picked up where 2020 left off. Despite the challenges, however, we’re also seeing a number of positive developments – starting with improvements to the way we communicate with our members.


After consulting with residents and holding lengthy internal discussions, the Marina da Gama Association Executive Committee (MDGA ExCom) voted to replace our quarterly printed magazine, Marina da Gama News, with a blog linked to our website, Facebook page, and weekly email newsletter.

We are sensitive to the fact that many Marina residents enjoyed reading our magazine. In the digital age, however, it no longer performed effectively as our main channel of communication. Rather than receiving news and updates every three months, people now want to know about developments in the Marina on a weekly and daily basis, even hourly when security issues are involved.

Consequently, our quarterly magazine became a luxury we could no longer justify. Instead, we believe our funds are better spent on publishing a regular flow of timely, relevant, and informative content through our online channels – including our new blog.

We are equally sensitive to the fact that not everyone has access to email or the internet. So, if you are concerned that you or anyone you know may be deprived of important information, please let us know and we will do whatever we can to fill the communication gap.

Meanwhile, a huge thanks to our magazine designer, Kim Horne, whose skill, talent, and hard work over so many years ensured Marina da Gama News always looked like a quality publication.


Talking of communication, ExCom members have had their hands and inboxes full dealing with residents’ complaints about our broken down Kingfisher and rising levels of floating algae on our waterways. We hear you loud and clear! In response, we have been working intensively behind the scenes to try and get the old weed eater repaired and establish exactly when work will start on building its replacement. Our efforts have included extensive correspondence with the City of Cape Town and a face-to-face meeting with Aimee Kuhl, our Ward Councillor.

Once we have their answers to our persistent questions, we will share them with you immediately. At present, however, we have nothing to report except that we have nothing of substance to report. For now, we will continue to cover the cost of deploying teams to remove the algae by hand.

Finance & Controls

We are pleased to advise members that just 10 days after the end of the last financial year, we were in a positon to publish our unaudited financials along with a preliminary budget for the 2021-22 financial year.

Thanks to our improved controls, timely reporting and accurate budgeting, we are able to react speedily to members’ concerns while still producing a surplus that we hold in reserve to cover future outgoings. In addition, residents can now access and comment on monthly updates showing how we are spending their levies.

To protect the MDGA and our staff, we have taken steps to make our office in the Eastlake Shopping Centre cashless by introducing a credit card machine. This will also help to further strengthen our levy collection efforts. We are appealing to everyone who can afford to pay their R700 levy to pay it by the end of this month. If, however, you are not in a position to pay for any reason, such as the pandemic, please contact us and we will do whatever we can to assist. We will continue to pursue non-payers and charge all debt collection costs to their account.


Our Security portfolio holder reports a number of significant development in his regular round-up, which you can read in full here. Among other developments, we have held extensive meetings with security reps in each of our precincts tabulated their specific responses and requirements, and shared mutually beneficial information between them.

In addition, ExCom voted to change our LPR camera service provider from iTrack to Navic following the conclusion of our study into the Marina’s Licence License Plate Recognition (LPR) infrastructure. Deep Blue will continue to provide our armed response back-up while monitoring and maintaining our network of our cameras. We will also continue to focus on securing the Marina’s perimeter.


ExCom welcomed our new Standards portfolio holder, John Lubbe, to his first Ex EXCom meeting on 9 March. We are already feeling the benefits of his steadying influence and he has some great and inclusive ideas to share.

We continue to follow up on standards-related complaints and we are pleased to see that, despite the severe financial costs of the pandemic, an encouraging number of residents have been busy repairing, painting, and upgrading their properties. Good work!

As we reported earlier, we also finished painting the Prince George Drive wall in just over 10 days and well within the R200,000 budget we set in 2019. Again: good work!

Parks & Open Spaces

At the start of the new financial year, our Parks & Gardens portfolio launched a new working model comprising one active representative from each of the Marina’s three islands working with a team of six gardeners. To make our gardeners easy to recognise, we will shortly be issuing them with overalls carrying the MDGA logo. We are confident that the new model will produce successful results for our residents while benefiting our gardeners with stable employment and a regular wage.


Thanks to everyone who helped to make our first-ever quiz and dinner night at the Marina Pub & Bistro in Eastlake Shopping Centre such a success. A respectable total of 15 teams took part in the event. Through ticket sales and donations, we managed to raise R860 towards the South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind.

Jamie and her team will be hosting our next quiz night and dinner night on Monday 29 March, starting at 7.00pm. Save the date!

M3-M5 road link

We are currently seeing a growing number of young families moving into the area to share our wonderful environment. And regardless of age or circumstances, the ExCom is determined to preserve the Marina’s status as one of Cape Town’s safest and most beautiful residential suburbs for the benefit of everyone who lives here.

With this in mind, we have engaged with the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee to re-activate the stalled development of the M5-M3 road link. This will be a long process. But with time, effort and perseverance, it is achievable.

It will be the single biggest development in our area and will have massive – and positive – implications for property prices and security in the Marina and the surrounding neighbourhoods that are forced to deal with the early morning and evening traffic jams through Muizenberg. 

Thank you!

I am continually amazed and gratified by the long hours that my ExCom colleagues devote to making the Marina such a wonderful place for us all to live in. I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their hard work and dedication. Your reward is to live in a better place today than yesterday because of their efforts.

When is the next Marina Pub & Bistro quiz night?

Following the success of our first-ever quiz and dinner night at the Marina Pub & Bistro in Eastlake Shopping Centre, we’re pleased to announce that Jamie and her team will be hosting our next quiz and dinner night on Monday 29 March, starting at 7.00 pm.

A respectable total of 15 teams took part in our inaugural Marina da Gama quiz. Through ticket sales and donations, we managed to raise R860 towards the South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind.

Competition for the winning places was tough – but not as tough as quizmaster Andy Rumbelow’s questions. Just one example: “Which movie character always wore the same coat in every film?” – Lassie.

In the end, Marina da Gama resident Sue Custer’s team, The Usual Suspects, pipped Valerie Benson’s team, The Four Musketeers, to first place by just half a point. Their prizes were sponsored by Marina Pub & Bistro and local Marina da Gama business owners.

If you and your teammates are up for another quiz, then please contact the Marina Pub & Bistro on 061 283 3182 to book your place.

We’ll update you with more information about the prizes and menu options closer to the date. For now, be aware that masks and social distancing are – once again – non-negotiable.