|Johan van der Merwe|
Do you know that your City is spending millions moving sand dunes around at an obsolete, windswept rubbish dump site? And to make matters worse there is no prospect of this money dumping that is running at half a million a year or more ever ending.
The machinery being used consisted of two huge dump trucks with “Burma Plant Hire & Mining” on the side and a tracked bulldozer and excavator some of them weighing up to 50 tons. All these had to be carted to and from the scene on expensive low bed loaders.
|Council made sand storms|
|This is what happened, according to Johan, before the current|
R500 000 a year plus scheme was adopted. This was not surprising
as there was no vegetation or anything else to hold this expanse of
fine white sand in place
I have been going there often in the last few years and in recent times I haven’t seen anybody, apart from the drivers of the earth moving equipment, working there.
|This was how this spider web of netting began|
|Then the web spread out to this before being spun out all|
along the side of the beach
|This new growth|
was showing just
a couple of months
after this area was
ravaged by fire and
it didn't need rain
to get it going
The obvious solution as I see it would be to plant the whole area over the dump with Port Jackson(Acasia saligna) willow. Alright I know it has been declared an invasive alien but it has proved to be very effective for holding sand dunes in place. It also recovers quickly from bush fires which are common around Cape Town in summer.
Acasia saligna is a rapid growing, dense spreading small tree or shrub that seeds itself prolifically and can grow over a meter a year when young. Many years ago it was introduced from its native Australia to hold the sand down on the Cape Flats, another part of Cape Town that is similar to Witsands in that it borders the sea.
It then got itself a bad name because is spread all over the place from the flats to the mountain sides where it took over from the indigenous fynbos that is a unique variety of flora found nowhere else in the world.
In this case planting Acasia saligna would be a lesser evil than spending millions that could be put to better use like uplifting the poor. In any case it wouldn't be replacing the local vegetation as there is nothing growing over the dump anyway.
Before horrified fynbos lovers start protesting at my idea they should first have a look at the mountain side (See 14th Picture above) next to the Ocean View township on Kommetjie road opposite where I live. This is just over the mountain from where Witsands is.
|It's spectacular when|
It is covered with a veritable forest of Port Jackson which the Council does nothing about. If the Witsands dump looked like this nobody would ever have to be concerned that it would wash away again. There would also be no sand blowing around and no need for any further maintenance work on it - a saving of millions for the City Council.
Even now there are already clumps of Port Jackson growing on the dunes at Witsands (It can be seen in the foreground of the 5th Picture).