Thursday, July 11, 2013

 It is time to renew your membership 
Revitalising Westville 
July 2013 
Number 2, 2013 
Identify yourself in the reference line of the deposit slip, thank you.
Westville Conservancy
Nedbank Branch No. 138026
Account No. 1380078083
It is time to renew your membership
  
 Please fill out and return the attached Membership form
 R30 for a scholar or pensioner
 Family R50
 School or organisation R150
 Life membership R1,000
Revitalising Westville
July 2013
Number 2, 2013
What we do
 Alien Invasive Plant (IAP) eradication
 M13 Roadway IAP clearing and replanting with indigenous plants
 Revitalising Westville – reclaiming neglected public spaces for indigenous planting
 Monitoring environmental issues in Westville
 Building up plant stock and growing rarer locally indigenous plants
Get Involved
  
 Donate plants
 Join work parties
 Donate compost
 Lend us your gardener
 Donate money
 For details contact Jenni Bell: 0824874939
Report back from our AGM
This scintillating event must have been the best-attended Annual General Meeting in any voluntary organisation’s history. We had to close the entrance to the parking as the hall was filled to capacity. While Dr Debra Roberts had taken severely ill at the last moment, the hundreds of attendees, mostly new faces, saw a presentation on the work of the Westville Conservancy over the last year.
All office bearers and committee members stood for re-election. While the rest may be hard to believe, we are most sincere about our gratitude to all our members, our sponsors and special benefactors, Councillor Warren Burne, Ziggy Muller from the City, and we look forward to your continued support in turning Westville around.
We are especially thrilled to have received a donation of R15,000 from the Westville Environmental Trust to promote, foster and advance environmental and waste management in Westville and areas adjourning and impacting on the Westville area.
Alien Invader Plant Eradication
Our number one priority has to be the eradication of invasive alien plants.
Here in in Westville, the worst invaders are the Syringa tree, Balloon vine, Bauhinia trees, Triffid weed (Chromolaena odorata), Madeira Vine (Anredera cordifolia) and (left to right): Ageratum, Mexican sunflower, Canna, Lantana, Pompom, Widelia and fountain grass.
We have regular work parties and Patty Mankowski organises spray parties to tackle particular infestations. Recent expeditions tackled Edgbaston and Attercliffe Roads.
Invasive alien plants are a major threat to biodiversity, human livelihoods and economic development. IAPs cost South Africans tens of billions of rand annually in lost agricultural productivity and resources spent on their management and threaten our wetlands, grasslands and water sources. Many IAPs are products of unwise and unintentional plant introductions (“but it’s so pretty…”) but there is today no excuse for being ignorant.
Be vigilant and be informed. These plants spread so quickly that fast action is the only cost-effective option. Do not be afraid to tackle your neighbours on invasive plants – if you don’t they’re going to end up in your garden.
Contact Patty Mankowski at or 0791815274 to join a work party,
Rob Jamieson from Invasive Vegetation Management Services at or 0837770872 for specialised removals,
Clive Walker at or 0728385834 for a quote.
Our sponsors
Westville Boys’ High School
Lomas-Walker Attorneys
Westville Veterinary Hospital
Lion’s Club
M13 Roadway
We are nearing completion of a thorough sweep of the 9km stretch of the M13 from the N2 at
Westwood to Paradise Valley.
Major clean-up of invasive alien plants took place in June
between Westwood and Attercliffe Road bridge, including
a heavily infested area between Rockdale bridge and
Waterfall Rd, and an area between the Broadway
underpass at the first glide-off to Glendale Rd, as well as
the underpass at the end of Essex Terrace. Rob
Jamieson of Invasive Vegetation Management Services
reports that a number of small to medium invader trees
and Bougainvilla were treated or cut, and wherever
possible, spraying with suitable herbicide was carried
out. A great number of bags of litter were removed and
glass and cans recycled.
M13 Sponsors
We thank Trevor Hall at Westville Boys’ High
School for renewing the school’s support, and Hi-Q for coming on board as a
new sponsor!
Transforming the Ugly and Neglected
Traffic Islands
A senior Parks and Gardens official who lives in Westville recently got his staff involved at the community garden at the Jan Hofmeyr/Blair Atholl traffic island. Apparently the brown of organic material left to mulch was offensive to his sight (and the balloon vine, Syringas and other Invasive Alien Plants all around Westville are not?), so a sudden burst of activity ensued with a big pile of compost being dropped off as well as a few Parks and Gardens staff. However, they did not return to finish and in total only managed to prepare about 18m2 over the 3 days they worked there. Nevertheless, it has helped, and as a voluntary non-profit organisation, totally reliant on donations from already taxed and rate paying residents, we are indeed grateful.
Once the work involving the piping and piles of soil dug up by Metro Electricity contractors is finally resolved, planting should be able to commence properly again.
On the opposite bank, where the fly-off joins the M13, the Aloe arborescence planted earlier in the year obliged to flower. Planting aloes seems to be working in keeping the brush cutters away from obliterating everything on the bank in their using desert effect style, and some natural grasses now are left to feed the birds in winter.
Norfolk Terrace Bus Stop
Privately funded by the Conservancy, the rehabilitated central Westville bus stop.
Monitoring the Environment in Westville
We actively monitor sites where environmental concerns are brought to our attention, and play a facilitating role between the community and the City to address these
We keep our Ward Councillors up to date on issues of environmental concern which they represent at Interdepartmental Liaison meetings
Most pressing of these are the proliferation of invasive aliens and generally the poor state of environmental management all across Westville. Our once beautiful suburb is rated as among the most environmentally degraded and with our political representatives, we are renewing our Revitalise Westville campaign.
Palmiet River Watch
Lee D’Eathe has been instrumental in setting up the Palmiet River Watch. Folk who live, work and play on the river, all the way from where the Palmiet River joins the Umgeni River at 0km, to its source in Manors at ±22.50 km, are working together with officials to locate and stop undesirable activates and water pollution.
A good working relationship is being developed with officials, with a commitment to respond to the issues as they arise; and they have already had some successes.
By communicating with one another, property owners along the Palmiet River determine the important details and roughly where the pollution has entered the river; and in this way, meaningful complaints are being submitted to the relevant authority to investigate, refer, follow-up and conclude with a report back.
Lee reports that there are now a total of 53 points that are covered with individuals with a vested interest in our river environment.
SMS’s, phone calls, emails and particularly WhatsApp are proving very effective tools for rapid communication. Contact Lee on 083 461 5964 or
This is YOUR Suburb!
  
You need to become part of any change for the better. Protect your investment in Westville. Stop just complaining and DO something - get involved.
We are a few volunteers with limited time and resources. Support the Westville Conservancy to make it more effective and get actively involved.
Make your concerns known to your councillor and the responsible Municipal Department.
Important contacts:
Manisha Arbuckle
Horticulturist, Parks and Gardens  031 3116632
Warren Burne
DA Councillor
 0833266633
Tim Brauteseth
DA Councillor
Report Back: Mkhula Road off Maryvale - Roads Department site
A crisis meeting was convened at the beginning of May to bring to the City’s attention, the Roads Department in particular, the issues regarding the site, which local residents had for long struggled to have addressed.
Most urgent among these were the stability of the slopes of the dump site, the dumping of bitumen, concrete and soil rubble into river catchment area, the proliferation of invasive alien plants, the dumping of plastic and other non-re-usable or non-degradable substances by contractors and the public, and the lack of security.
It was resolved at the meeting, that the encroaching bank to be moved back approximately 10-15m, stabilised and that the site would be cleaned up by stock piling all contractors materials on one side.
The City would also from now on desist from any further dumping on the ravine catchment side of the property, and all invasive alien plants were to be treated and removed, with regular follow ups to prevent regrowth. Signage prohibiting dumping was to be erected, and extra security measures were to be implemented.
Development of Westville CBD
Reading for the first time in the Highway Mail about the planned development, the immediate concerns that sprang to mind were about the lack of stakeholder consultation, the increase in development leading to increased traffic, hard surfaces, pollution, malls, heat island effect and ugly verges like that outside Toyota, all finally destroying the last vestiges of a “village feel” that Westville used to aspire to.
The R5.3m is largely for upgrading the pavements of these roads (some fancy pavements!). While stakeholder consultation had apparently taken place the previous couple of years, the Westville Conservancy is now registered as a formal stakeholder on the City’s database.
In June we met with the City’s team responsible for the plans to upgrade the Westville central business district, encompassing Church and Westville roads for now, with plans to address Jan Hofmeyr Rd at a later stage. We expressed concern at the meeting about the landscaping elements, increase in traffic with little regulation, as well storm water run- off from the hardened surfaces in town and especially if the area of hardened surfaces is to increase.
It has been noticed over the years, that there has been a marked increase in flood heights and the swiftness that the water reaches due to the increase of hardened surfaces resulting from roads and infrastructure development. The scouring of the banks has caused damage to private property as well as Municipal roads and paving. Besides this, the flooding and scouring has caused a noticeable drop in biodiversity of these river systems, both plants and animals have decreased in specie numbers as well as in number representing those species still extant. Eels and fish are no longer as numerous as
they were with the result that the bird life too has been affected not to mention the mongooses, crabs and invertebrates.
Jean Senogles requested information regarding the consideration by the engineers involved in the plans of building attenuation ponds down the tributaries and in the smaller flood plains to hold back some of the immediate run-off. These ponds have proved to be most satisfactory in the upper reaches of the Mississippi and in the State of Massachusetts.
According to Geoff Tooley (Pr Eng), the City’s Manager: Catchment Management, the City is looking at master drainage plans for the rivers in our city, precisely for these reasons. For the Palmiet, possible attenuation sites have been identified. The plan is to provide attenuation where possible in order to reduce the peak floods created by all the hardened surfaces. This is obviously more difficult in areas which are almost fully developed as is the case with the Palmiet river surroundings.
There is no doubt that tired Westville does require investment in its renewal. We do however continue to question the process for integrated planning from an environmental perspective and the allocation of resources.
These resources are even more startling in their magnitude when our Parks and Gardens team has no proactive plan for combatting alien invasive plants in Westville and are severely understaffed.
Other issues the Conservancy has been monitoring include abandoned and derelict properties, notably in Glenridge and Cedar Roads, which pose health and safety risks and are usually overrun by invasive alien plants, as well as the state of the bus shelters around Westville. Where they haven’t totally collapsed, they generally lack seating and are in a state of disrepair. At the top of Blair Atholl Rd, the slimy pavement and water seepage has at last been addressed. The icing on the cake for Jenni Bell, after years of wet slime and ‘creep’ onto the road, was watching a mother push her child in a pram on the road, into the oncoming traffic, to avoid
the pavement!
A sub-soil drain behind the sidewalk was constructed a couple of weeks ago, once the Metro Electricity had finished laying the new cabling to prevent ground water flowing onto the sidewalk. Once the Metro Electricity contractors have completed the work and tidied up the excess soil and mess, landscaping can commence, and we are hoping this will be a joint effort with Parks and Gardens. We thank Ziggy Muller, senior manager for the City, most sincerely for ensuring all these issues are addressed, and for keeping us constantly updated.
Invasive Alien Plants – Kloof Conservancy takes on the State in Court
National government has failed to implement regulations on invasive species under the National Environmental: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) which was promulgated in 2004. This has resulted in the delayed the revision of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (CARA).
We support and applaud the Kloof Conservancy, representing 300 members, for taking on the state in what it says is a "public interest" court battle to force the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs to properly implement "emasculated legislation" aimed at eradicating invasive alien plants. The application, brought by the Kloof Conservancy, was set down to be argued in the Durban High Court in June but was delayed by the state as it sought to supplement its papers, and the matter will probably now proceed in October.
The Kloof Conservancy is seeking to compel the Minister to publish – as he should have done by August 2006 – a national list of invasive species required by NEMBA, and to put in place practical steps, including the employment of environmental management inspectors, to give effect to the legislation.
For details, including copies of the Notice of Motion and the Founding Affidavit, visit the Kloof Conservancy website:
Indigenous Plant Nursery Network
The Conservancy now has a dedicated plant depot at the Parks and Garden premises, given the generous response to our appeal for plants for the revitalisation of various parts of Westville. If you would like to be part of the network of plantspeople and growers, giving us access to a wide range of locally indigenous plant material for planting at suitable public sites, please email Gertrud or Jenni at We are also acquiring rarer species, especially those threatened grassland species for propagating and planting in reclaimed areas.
Worth Subscribing to: The Indigenous Gardening Online Magazine The Indigenous Gardener on-line magazine is a beautiful one-of-a-kind digital gardening magazine for the thinking gardener. With each issue offering a diverse wealth of information... for only R18/month or R215 / year. 34 pages/100% indigenous ...all your indigenous/ sustainable gardening info.
Make a Note in your Diary
On 23 August at 6 pm at the Frank Ferrer Hall, Palmiet Nature Reserve, we are hosting Dr Peter Ardington who will give an hour’s power point presentation on the state of the world’s grasslands. He will discuss environmental problems, climate change, desertification, erosion, game, livestock, grazing management and fire with many photographs and text slides.
A guided Birdlife walk in Springside Nature Reserve on Wednesday 10th July Starting at 8.30am. Contact Sue on 031 765 6809 for further information.
7.0pm for a 7.30 start for an extra special meeting at Westville Central Library.
In accord with the WESSA requirements we must hold an annual AGM meeting.
Our guest speaker will be the one and only PAT McKRILL.
Not only is Pat a very knowledgeable speaker on all things Natural, but also one of the most humorous of speakers. Many a professional comic would give his right arm to be able to entertain his audience as Pat does. Pat has called his talk “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT” . The simplicity of Nature.
Come early, and don’t miss this one.
Augmented snacks and Wine/Fruit Juice. No charge but donations not refused.
First on Saturday 13th July, starting from the lovely old Farm House, now SPCA’s Tea Garden, at 10.0am.
An easy walk along good paths past the SPCA enclosures and grasslands, close to (but not too close) to the Gorge, passed the waterfall and through the forest and wetlands. Duration about 1½ hours.
The guide for this walk will relate the history of the area (now Kloof, Emberton, Gillits and surround) from 1800 to the present day.
Afterwards stop to enjoy the offerings of Marilyn’s Tea Garden to recoup your energy.
The SPCA shops will also be open from 8.0am to noon.
The second walk will be the next day, Sunday 14th July starting from the SPCA car park near the old Farm House. 8.0am for an 8.30 start.
This walk will follow the same path as Saturday’s walk, but this time the guide will concentrate on the Flora and natural vegetation of the reserve.
NB. The Tea Room and SPCA shops will not be open on the Sunday, but bring your own picnic and enjoy the quiet surroundings.
In both cases there is no charge, but donations towards the further repairs to the remaining bridge and maintenance of the reserve would be appreciated.
Sunday 21st July, a short guided walk in Kloof Gorge. **********************************************************************************************
Leave the land in
better condition
than when you
found it!
Dedicated to Lynne Thompson

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

December 2011 Newsletter


Our work this year


With sincere thanks to our corporate sponsors, we continue to remove alien species, and to plant and protect trees and aloes, and maintain the sponsored sections of the M13. Our main areas of struggle are with state or municipal-appointed teams of injudicious brush-cutters, and with litter. Plastic everywhere!

The bare land along Norfolk Terrace, opposite the fire station, has been planted up with a diversity of trees with bequests made in memory of Alastair Lomas-Walker. This carries on the tree-planting from the top of Norfolk Terrace along the M13, and brings the number of trees planted to more than 500. Other tree-planting projects included Westville Cares Day, when trees were planted at Jimmy Bellows Sports field, and Jubilee Park.

Combatting Alien Invasive Plants

We continue our battle against invasive species with funds received from memberships. Syringa and pompom, balloon vine, Brazilian peppers, Catsclaw, Australian Eugenia, Litsea and others threaten to take over our environment.

It remains a great concern that Westville residents actually plant Widelia on their verges and are protective of their syringa trees. While syringa may carry wonderfully smelling flowers, these trees and all the other declared invaders cause tremendous damage to our ecosystems. They impact on biodiversity and take over our natural habitat at the expense of indigenous cover and ground water. Westville’s suburban gardening practices also directly impact on the Palmiet Nature Reserve, a community-managed municipal reserve established in 1972 –alien invader plants, plastic packets, rubbish and illegal discharge into the river put this biodiversity haven under pressure.

Some of the areas in which our alien invader plant eradication efforts have been concen-trated are Baden Road, Edgbaston Road, J ubilee Park, Conway Park, the Westville Trail, and of course, the M13.

Rob Jamieson and his team, Clive Walker and Shadrack Luthuli are our hands-on warriors in this battle, and we thank them.

Jubilee Park

John Hinck and Marion Spence have transformed this green desert choked with alien invader species into a beautiful natural environment. Their efforts were recognised by Ethekwini Municipality when they received the Mayoral Award for Excellence (Biodiversity Division) in recognition of the rejuvenation of Jubilee Park.

Please contribute to the valuable work being done there - contact Marion on 031 -266 6412 email:

Westville Park (aka the Scout Bowl)

What should be the green heart of Westville continues to suffer under the Parks and Garden’s lack of effort in violation of the City’s own green landscaping guidelines. Alien invader species remain untouched while fields of hypoxis and wild grasses, and even indigenous trees (Apodytes dimidiata, Canthium imerme, Gardenia thunbergia, Ekebergia capensis) are hacked. We are therefore pleased that a ‘Friends of the Westville Park’ was established during 2011, with the aim of protecting this natural asset.

Plans for 2012

There is so much to do! We would like to tackle further stretches along the M13, dispatch every single alien invader plant, green our public spaces and work with the municipality and residents on the protection of our natural capital. We are however limited in number and in funds. We are on a drive to increase our membership base, and to attract more corporate sponsors. You could help us in this by actively signing up new members, and letting us know of potential sponsors that would like their company name attached to an environmental programme.

We believe that next year the earth’s resources will come under even greater pressure, as the human population weighs heavily upon planet earth. Massive loss of biodiversity and species is underway on a global scale. Biodiversity loss is at the centre of a number of risks to life on earth, including the unprecedented spread of infectious disease, air pollution, extreme weather, desertification and water scarcity and rising costs. The value of biodiversity acknowledged as services with a financial value is only becoming clearer now and it is beyond question that we cannot survive without them. Just as wildlife was not valued as having an intrinsic value but had to be given economic status to ‘justify’ itself in terms of tourism value or game farming, the natural environment is being valued as a necessary asset in the national economy.

We need to protect Westville and do justice to our part of the world.


The Conference of Parties’ (CoP) 17th meeting in Durban in December went into 36 hours overtime, and from it emerged a vague, ambiguous and not legally-binding 'Durban Package'. This could potentially lock us onto a pathway of dangerous climate change to the tune of an increase of 3.5 degrees Centigrade, as opposed to the 2 degrees currently aimed for, or the 1.5 degrees Centigrade many claim is necessary for a safe climate future.
By all accounts, the final COP plenary decisions were pushed through so fast, and previous arguments ignored, that delegates were somewhat confused, while South African mediation led into a scrum on stage in what foreign delegates called 'undignified' and not befitting diplomats. The Durban Package that emerged from this did manage to secure a second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. However, this commitment is unambitious and weak and does not include the major polluters. With the US, Canada, Japan and Russia all not party to commitment and because of lack of ambition in emission-reduction targets, the second Kyoto Protocol commitment will cover less than 15% of global emissions.
Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, points out: “Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent to compensate for the increased emissions.”

In the context of sovereign debt and recession in the West and lack of commitment from some developing countries, there just isn't the financial commitment or political will to take the necessary ambitious immediate action to avert a crisis of food insecurity, displacement and global instability that are set to come with climate change above 2 degrees.

Faced with these daunting prospects, we should put our individual effort into supporting local farmers’ markets and building local resilience, limit our own CO2 emissions and add our voice to pressure groups.


There is an appeal from Mtunzini Conservancy for support to save Mtunzini and Zululand from the further ravages of mineral sand mining. Exxaro has been trying to proceed with strip mining near Mtunzini despite strenuous protests from residents and businesses.

Support in this David and Goliath situation is needed. Mtunzini Conservancy is calling for contributions from interested persons and organisations. Westville Committee members have already made individual contributions; we urge others to do the same.

Please make your contributions to: the Mtunzini Conservancy at any branch of First National Bank or via the internet to: First National Bank, Sort Code: 220130, Account number: 62093027475.  Please use your business name or surname and initials as a reference and fax to ++ 27 86 512 6476 or E Mail to the following information: 1) Proof of payment, 2) your full name, 3) postal address, 4) E Mail address and your Telephone number. For more particulars visit OR

Barbara Chedzey at

WATER ALERT Chairman of the Board of Wessa, Dr Richard Lewis, recently stated:

‘Just pertaining to water alone, we in SA have lost 50% of our wetlands – (the country’s kidneys);82 municipalities no longer have water engineers meaning that in many cases pure sewerage is flowing into water supplies. In the Vaal Catchment area 50 000 tons of uranium from mines seeped into water supplies just last year alone, causing acid mine water which is highly radioactive and necessitating the evacuation of people on the West Rand. The EU is already refusing vegetables growing along the Vaal as being too toxic unless the farmers have their own purification works. Stark realities loom, and yet people are more inclined to watch mindless TV shows, spend thousands on fireworks, or expend huge amounts of passion in watching sport, whilst real issues facing them are scarcely given a thought.’

2012 is going to be challenging. You have been warned.



Account name

Nedbank, Westville Mall

Westville Conservancy

Account Number

1380 078 083

Branch code 138026

Please remember to renew your annual membership by paying into the account below. Amounts quoted are the minimum payable, optional extra amounts are welcome. Subs are individual/family: R20 minimum; Schools/organizations R100 to R500. Identify yourself in the reference line of the deposit slip, thank you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

September 2011

Global warming /climate change


Jojo Tanks have circulated the following tips on saving water. How many do you practice already? Clean the driveway/steps with a broom, not water; take showers, not baths, and use low-flow shower heads; put a brick in the toilet cistern; use the washing machine only when full of clothes; turn off the water when brushing teeth; use only enough water in your kettle to fill your cup; replace washers regularly; replace lawn with ground-cover plants.

Startling news is that water for the future of Durban will be very expensive to provide, even from purified sewage. We can expect to follow Windhoek in this respect. SA has enough water for food production for 35 M people. The present population is 52 M!


Experts including Debra Roberts, Brian Ashe, Colleen Downs, and Mark Liptrot have been informing the public with their expertise in particular areas in the run-up to the Climate Change Global Conference taking place in Durban in late November/early December. We will have thousands of interested people visiting Durban at that time and Ethekwini is determined to make the occasion special. Protest groups including environmental activists will be marching on 3rd December to emphasise the need to lessen the effects of global warming on millions of people. This can be done partly through the lowering of carbon dioxide and other emissions by setting limits on burning of fossil fuels and felling of forests, among other causes of climate change. Delegates need to listen to citizens.

Next in the monthly Climate Change seminar series put on by the Natural Science Museum Research Centre at 151 K.W. Masinga Road (was Old Fort) will be Mark Brown’s “Too hot to handle – how climate change is affecting birds”& David Allan’s “Which way is the wind blowing for Southern Africa’s birds?” (The threats posed to our avifauna by wind turbines). Wednesday 5th October 5.45 p.m. RSVP 031 311 2256

CHANGE YOUR WORLD – think globally, act locally

The spring rains have started – now is the time to get into the garden or to do something for the public environment. Contact other Conservancy members, get cuttings and/or advice. (Details Patty 031 266 3325)


Felix Finkbeiner was 9 years old when he came up with the idea of planting a million trees in each country on earth in order to capture dangerous greenhouse gases. His dream has become a global movement, with children all over the world following the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative, planting trees and “fighting for climate justice”. Here he promotes action with the late Wangari Maathai, famous environmentalist who started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya.


How can I as an individual reduce my carbon ‘footprint’? Consider how many of the following practices you have adopted. Haven’t yet? Now’s your chance!

Energy-proof your home

No major upgrades are needed, just simple stuff. Make sure all of your windows close properly so that your home is properly insulated. This will save you money on your energy bills too. Switch to compact florescent light bulbs. They use roughly 75% less energy than normal light bulbs and last much longer.

Unplug and save.If you’re not using an electrical appliance, unplug it. Most electronic appliances siphon energy even when they are on standby or “switched off”. That includes cell phone chargers, laptops, televisions, sound systems, printers and many others.

Buy organic, go local

Whenever you can, even though you often have to pay a premium, buy organic - it means the food was grown in an eco-friendly way. And if it's locally grown, it didn't have to be transported that far. Be aware - those cappuccinos and lattes you love may come from beans that have travelled a great many kilometres to get to you. Find a coffee house that specialises in African beans, and roasts locally. For the same reason, eat at restaurants that serve locally produced or seasonal foods.

Pay attention to packaging

Consider products that have minimal packaging or environmentally friendly packaging. Shop with reusable bags - cloth tote bags or recycled bags are best.

Bye-bye bottled water

Bottled water has a massive carbon footprint — it's bottled at one location in small plastic bottles and shipped all over the country or the world. Buy a reusable water bottle or canteen for your water. Durban has some of the best quality drinking water in the world.

Use cold water

Oh, alright, it’s still a bit chilly - you can use hot water in the shower, but not too much. But do a cold wash in your washing-machine. It takes a lot of energy to heat up water — multiply that by the number of wash loads, and that's a big footprint.


Durban Botanic Gardens, Visitors Centre, 6 p.m., 17th October: Illustrated talk by Charles and Julia Botha about their recent visit to China. The Bothas are the authors of the popular Bring Nature Back to your Garden series of books. Entrance: R25 for members, R35 for non‐members (includes tea and cake)

RSVP: Tel 031 2015111 / 031 3091170 or email botsoc‐


Westville Times, a new newspaper circulated throughout Westville, has featured several items on our members and their activities in the last few months. If you have anything of particular interest please contact Nashreen on or 031 266 4093 about putting an article into her paper.


On Westville Cares Day, with WESSA, we were able to offer members the choice of litter-clearing at Palmiet, removal of Wedelia and Ageratum plants at Jubilee Park or tree-planting at Jimmy Bellows. The time has come when we are starting to do more planting than removal of invasive alien vegetation. That is great reward for those who had to do a lot of M13 roadkill over the years! Anyone wanting to join a Spray/ Work Party, roughly 2nd Saturday (early) every month, should contact Patty on 079 181 5274.



Before After

Balloon vine choking trees Newly-planted trees opposite BKS

Appeal for subs – Please remember to renew your membership by paying into the Conservancy account below. Subs are actually due from AGM time every year i.e. April/May and ARE STILL R20 per annum for ordinary/family membership; R100 for Silver; and R500 for Gold membership status. Remember to identify yourself in the reference line of the deposit slip, thank you!


Nedbank, Westville Mall

Account Name

Westville Conservancy

Account Number

1380 078 083

Branch Code



Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 2011 Newsletter 37

P O BOX 40, WESTVILLE, 3630; ( 031 267 0872; 3 083 777 0872
Conservancy link: see
NEWSLETTER NO. 37                                                       MARCH 2011
Wessa’s  Highway Branch meetings: the guest speaker for Friday 8th April will be the well-known Roy Cowgill who will be returning to ‘show and tell’ us of the birds and other creatures of the Galapagos Islands  Time permitting we will also have a DVD film on birds. As always, 7.0 for 7.30pm at Westville Central Library, everyone invited including accompanied children, no charge, light refreshments.

Forthcoming attractions for our 2nd Friday meetings. 
Friday 13th May," Heavens Above ". Come and look through the telescopes of the Astronomical Society at the wonders of the night sky.
Friday 10th June.  "Turkish Delight".
Friday 8th July. "The creatures of the Kgiligadi Transfontier Park".
N.B.Treasure Beach environmental courses will be offered to up to 1000 school children this year if Wessa can obtain enough sponsorship through sale of secondhand books (not text books).  Contact Alan Job 031 764 0034.
April events at Springside Nature Reserve
Sunday 10 April 8.30am
Speaker/Walk Leader: Ross Kramm - Raptors.  Ross will bring a Falcon.  Before the walk he will present a short slide show on local Birds of Prey and discuss raptors in gardens.  We will also hear about Springside Nature Reserve’s resident Crowned Eagle which entertained (and alarmed) many human neighbours whilst it was reaching adulthood.  SNR Resource Centre is not a large venue so arrive in time to ensure seeing the slide show.  Enq: Sue 031-765 6809
Wednesday 13 April 8.30am
Birding with Derek Spencer (or form your own interest group) Enq: as above.
 Indigenous Open Gardens, Pietermaritzburg. Sat/Su 16/17 April: R30 p.p. to visit all 7 gardens, children free, tea gardens. Proceeds to charities supported by Pmb East Rotary Anns.  Enq. Jill Raybould 033 3422461
uShaka Marine World: Wed.evening 20th April
Talk on Dugongs (and the crucial elements of an emergency protection plan to save this species from extinction.)
At: Sea World Education Centre, uShaka Marine World, 18h30 sharp
Cost: EWT Non-members : R50; EWT Members  R35
RSVP to: Endangered Wildlife Trust / 011 486 1102 or uShaka / 031 328 8222
Speaker Karen Allen has a degree in nature conservation, specialising in Marine & Coastal Management and Environmental Law. She has a passion for marine biology and has spent the last few years dedicated to the conservation of Dugongs and their marine habitat.
WATER SHORTAGE :   BRENDA MARTIN  Project 90x2030 shares her insights:
South Africa’s freshwater supply is getting dangerously low in terms of the claims being made on it.  Brenda Martin of Project 90 x 2030 cites increasing reports that South Africa's clean water supply could be threatened within 5 to 10 years.
‘The reports present as good an opportunity as any to think about how we value water. Let's ask ourselves how much clean water we flush down the drain every day? 16 years into our democracy it is crucial that we begin to include an urgent plan of action to fix the dire state of our water infrastructure alongside the great water access programmes that are now in place. After all, what will the impact be on the poor in South Africa if clean water becomes a luxury item? Another consideration: the belief that we will run out of clean healthy drinking water could also lead quite quickly to the view that bottled water is going to become an essential item. There is no doubt that bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment. Consider the following: Bottled water can cost anywhere from 500 times to 1000 times more than tap water. In South Africa 1000 litres of tap water costs about R16, whereas the same volume of bottled water can cost as much as R13, 200. In SA around 56,000 tons of plastic from bottled water is likely to be dumped in landfills this year. Public perception that bottled water is a requirement in South Africa could have a seriously detrimental effect on our carbon emissions and perhaps even more crucially, develop the view that clean drinking water will soon be inaccessible to the poor. According to the Department of Water Affairs the maintenance expenditure backlog for water services is estimated to be in the order of R100 billion. So instead of simply reacting with alarm and planning to steer clear of tap water in the future, let's think about how we value water today. Let's call on government to urgently strengthen South Africa's water infrastructure and let's all put a far greater value on this invaluable and limited resource.
Newsflash: Municipal water rate in Durban is about to go up 7.5 percent.
The signs are an initiative of the KZN Conservancies Association (KZNCA), supported by WESSA, Botsoc, BirdLife South Africa and Lepsoc. Two sizes R55 and R35 each. Proceeds will go towards publication of KZNCA’s conservancy booklets: ‘How to start a Conservancy’ and ‘Conservancy Guidelines.’  For more info and to order, contact Jean Lindsay
Our AGM will be held at Palmiet Nature Reserve on 6th May (6 for 6.30 p.m.)          so please circle this date in your diary.  As usual we will have an interesting guest speaker and a BYO braai. Please attend in this magic setting and swell our numbers.  It is your chance to meet other members and renew your subs, browse through some books, etc.
Those who cannot attend but who wish to renew their subs at this preferred and convenient time of the year should send their R20, R100 or R500, with identification, to:
Bank Nedbank, Westville Mall
Account Name Westville Conservancy
Account Number 1380 078 083
Branch Code 138026
The lively Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of Ethekwini Municipality draws attention to the late November/early December 2011 Climate Change conference:
COP 17 - CMP 7 will be hosted in Durban and will aim to achieve many things i.e. to assess the progress made to date in addressing the challenges of climate change internationally; to continue to push for countries to take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions, and to seek binding agreements around this. COP 17 - CMP 7 is hoped to inspire greater action in the field of adaptation and through this, to generate long-term commitments to reducing risk for billions of people around the world.To read more about COP17 - CMP7, visit: