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Dream Zandvlei: meeting 24 January 2017

This is the minutes of a meeting that forms part of a series of conversations to take care of Zandvlei. In 2017 the plan is to develop a ‘dream’ of what all the various stakeholders want to see or experience in and around the Zandvlei Nature Reserve, and wider, the Zandvlei catchment. Towards the later half of 2017 and into 2018 this dream will then be interrogated with feasibility analyses and shaped into a plan. This is a highly participative, somewhat informal, dynamic process. If this interests you, please get in touch:

(these are just my notes :)  )
Todo: make images illustrating the linkages

Original presentation:

Notes: meeting 24 January 2017
Attending: Sharon, Peter, Gavin, Brian, Bernelle, at Brian’s house, Marina da Gama.
Brief introduction:
Sharon: Connector – rooted from people perspective
Bernelle: Connector – rooted from technology perspective
Gavin: Systems thinker
Peter: Horticulturalist, head of Zandvlei trust
Brian: Business thinker
  • Main topic: Litter traps.
  • Main identified (local) problem: Dwellers on water’s edge in Retreat region, nightsoil, large litter and small litter (e.g. polystyrene fragments, lollipop sticks and plastic bags)
Unpacking the issues:
  1. Diffuse litter in river and along shoreline
  2. Separation at source – stakeholders (e.g. human waste, vineyards – silt)
  3. Challenge about working with the city
  4. Finding the funds: using sport as funding and awareness vehicle and energiser
1. Diffuse litter along shoreline
Acknowledge the size of the problem: HUGE.
How to collect smartly?
There are many ideas about improvements for the litter traps. Need pilots to test these out.
Need a way to document what has been done with regards to the removal mechanisms (small contractors), and the analysis of what has been removed (what is the typical mix? How much of it is there?)
Need to work with the city on this, but not rely on them -this is a tricky area as it involves overlap between different departments.
NB: Before contacting initiatives that can add value – e.g. Tuffy, Deep Green, need a plan and a critical analysis of the opportunities as well as weaknesses or challenges. Need to understand where the money is needed, how much (a budget), how it will be spent and why whoever we approach should be interested. Need to prove that we are realistic, that we know what we are talking about, and that we are willing to do the work. Need to be prepared and distinguish ourselves from ‘just having an idea’.
Waste sorting needs to occur after collection, landfills are over-committed.
Consider local incineration as last catch-all option.
  1. What are the ideas for smart litter collection (e.g. along shoreline)? There are manual clean-ups, but these are demotivating. Can be done as part of challenges, drives, competitions… but need a continual passive solution too.
  2. Find out what the challenges are regarding (local – not transporting) incineration and what to do with the collected litter, what the regulations are, what the city’s views are.
  3. Collect ideas from stakeholders and test the prototypes – what has been done? Innovation competitions? – also ask Hailey McLellan at Aquarium (
  4. Prototype litter trap improvements. – How to go about this?
  5. Document what has been done regarding litter removal (contact contractors?) IF this proves problematic then write it off as a lost cause, else too demotivating.
2. Separation at source – engage with stakeholders on case by case basis
Consider local human waste treatment (Nereda downscaled?)
  1. Find out what is happening, map all the contributing stakeholders?
  2. What are the incentives to stakeholders to clean up their act?
  3. Who can enforce the regulations?
  4. Source to Sea and Catchment forum might help with identifying stakeholders.
  5. People dynamics and tempers and agendas are all complicating this space – find ways to facilitate effectively, break log-jams, find win-win compromises. Pick one local thing (per user group or working group) at a time, make the objective small enough, and tackle it until it works. Don’t dilute effort.
3. Challenge about working with the city
Council, government, city is identified as a challenge. But we need to manage expectations: We require city’s blessing and input, we need to understand the laws, and where reasonable work with them. Where unreasonable, find a champion, litigate – one issue at a time, as far as it needs to go. Keep focus. Do not request/rely on city funding, as this is very limited.
4. Finding the funds: using sport as funding and awareness vehicle and energiser.
Zandvlei is a special place environmentally (well documented)
Zandvlei catchment is a special place sportally 🙂 – running, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, surfing, swimming (if not Zandvlei lagoon then Silvermine Dam), horses, cycling … you name it! It’s an integrated sports event dream waiting to happen.
Build the cycling infrastructure along the riverways – the city’s cycling plan is currently out for comment, deadline 21 Feb:
=== DREAM: ===
  • Sport events including the catchment, link up with the idea of Zandvlei being a premier sports tourism destination. (awareness and fundraising)
  • Cycling pathways along the river. (commuting)
  • Functioning litter traps: tried and tested pilots, iterative learning about what works, effective working with the city and contractors, with adequate documentation of all work done, analysis of litter collected.
  • Add value and comprehensive on-site/local treatment of litter (including options to incinerate and have hyper-local sanitation treatment).
  • Sharon talk to Gordon/Milnerton guy – where are the links, common purpose?
  • Sharon talk to Sarah of SourcetoSea
  • Bernelle: Ask Petco for Tuffy contact (contact only once we have a rough plan – but before financial year end?)
  • Brian – ask Jon Adams (the Swim-Run guy) about event- is it possible to have a sport event be financially sustainable and subsidise some environmental activities? Would like input on a ‘thinking’ event, source-to-sea inspired. An adventurous multi-thon, a thinkathon – exercise intellect as much as sport. Integrating environmental interaction, awareness. An enabled event/event-series (long term view), that allows people who are not the strongest or fittest or fastest to have a chance at winning (flip what we conventionally think of as ‘good sport’), that is completely accessible to people with disabilities. Potentially link up with the Peninsula Paddle. Take inspiration from the Impi challenge, the Scouts Kontiki ‘survivor’ angle (with challenges to engage the intellect and innovate on challenges the catchment faces, in engaging and spectator-friendly ways)
  • Brian – look up Deep Green
  • Bernelle – Investigate Use-it (
=== Links to investigate: ===