Hout Bay gets down into preserving the eco-system

Terry Murphy, Hout Bay Rivers Catchment Forum chairman.

The Hout Bay Rivers Catchment Forum’s (HBRCF) multi-pronged strategy to preserve the area’s ecological heritage is picking up steam.

The forum set up three special interest groups, or SIGs, in September to run with specific projects: the Hout Bay Nature Park, the Hout Bay Conservancy and pollution control.

Forum chairman Terry Murphy said it
was “three steps forward” when the SIGs were created.

“Our intention is that each of these SIGs will continue to attract dedicated volunteers to pro-actively influence and support council departments, and enhance our liaison with local communities and related associations,” he said.

The forum, which was reactivated nearly three years ago, will act as the co-ordinating body to monitor property developments and support initiatives such as recycling.

“Together we can all contribute to preserving and protecting and enhancing Hout Bay,” Mr Murphy said.

The forum’s key aim is to establish a conservancy, running from Orange Kloof to the sea, including the Hout Bay Nature Park. This, it says, will pro-
tect the river area from public and private devel-
opments and encourage plans to deal with pol-
lution and alien vegetation and create recreation facilities, guided walks, safe picnicking, and
projects such as a butterfly park and bird
hides.

“This is all so that the people of Hout Bay can enjoy this beautiful location right in the heart of Hout Bay, forever,” Mr Murphy said.

For the first couple of years, the forum focussed on operational issues relating to stormwater and waste management.

Mr Murphy said the forum’s latest initiative was to test nets at stormwater outlets to reduce solid waste from entering the river system.

Jacky Whales heads up the Hout Bay Nature Park SIG.

“We have seen improvements all over, and we hope everybody within Hout Bay can adopt this way of thinking so that we can improve the eco-system for everybody,” she said.

Ms Whales said a priority would be to rehabilitate and improve the public park next to the World of Birds. They have already planted 46 new trees in the area.

“This is a long-term project of ours, but
this is a space used by all, and it’s important
for us to maintain these sort of spaces,” she
said.

The SIG will also put pressure on the City to install litter nets around outlets into rivers and oceans, but Ms Whales said there was already a lot less litter landing in the river.

“Pollution coming into the river has been reduced. I feel like the City have made a valiant effort to maintain the river. We are looking forward to a healthier eco-system, and we must keep on improving,” Ms Whales said.

Mr Murphy called on all volunteers to help them achieve their goals and said: “Our vision is to create a beautiful natural area, safe from the encroachments of man, be it developments or pollution or whatever.

“Our way of working is to understand the issues from the perspective of all of the stakeholders, and very importantly the council, and to influence them about priorities.

“We need more volunteers to contribute to these special-interest groups. We have a very friendly group of committed volunteers and, it’s all very stimulating because we can see real progress, and we can see what we want to achieve – please join us.”

To help or become a volunteer, email Terry Murphy at terry@marketingmixconferences.co.za