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THE VERMONTER NEWSLETTER - October 2009

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FROM THE CHAIRMAN
 
Vermont is living up to its name with all the spring flowers, both in the gardens and the green belts. Thanks to the sterling efforts of Deon Louw and his team, the sidewalks are also looking great, and actually improving every month.
 
I listened to Rob Fryer of the Overstrand Conservation Forum on Whale Coast Radio on Wednesday. He reported that an extensive development proposal will soon be submitted for ‘Hoek Van Die Berg’, our Western neighbour.
 
This well researched and exciting proposal will consist of several ‘hamlets’, agricultural allotments pertaining to the hamlets, and enough shops to supply basic daily needs. Use of solar power, possibly wind power, harvesting of water, and re-use of ‘grey water’ will all strive to minimise the impact, both on the environment, and bulk services.
 
Don McDonald
Chairman-Vermont Ratepayers Association
 
 
VERMONT RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION - ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2009
 
Just to confirm the information in our last Newsletter:The AGM of the VRA will be at 6pm on Monday 7th December in the De Wet Hall, Onrus River. This year, after the business of the AGM, well known wine expert Beyers Truter, who has a home in Vermont, will give a short talk, followed by a wine auction, and then a wine tasting. This is great news!  So please join us.
This  is also an opportunity for our ratepayers to assist us by making a donation to the VRA. Meanwhile , our grateful thanks to those Vermonters who have recently  supported us.

FRIDAY NIGHT AT VERMONT/FLAMINGO PAN
ANITA TAYLOR
 
I am very excited! With summer on its way it has become time to start thinking about our get together on a Friday night at the Vermont Pan. I hope that we will be able to start on Friday, the 4th December 2009.  If you are interested in helping out with making a fire and transporting the braais on a Friday night please contact Anita Taylor on ataylor@aidasa.co.za or phone me on 082 430 8134/028 316 3393.  Any other contributions or suggestions will be much appreciated. I am also keen to ascertain what interest there is in this event so feel free to send me an email!
 
R43 PROVINCIAL ROAD, THROUGH HERMANUS
PAUL PFISTER
 
The Executive Committee of the VRA have been investigating the possibility of assisting the authorities with the unacceptable rate of fatal and serious collisions on the R43. In particular the section of road between Hawston and the Kid brook intersection, since May of this year.
 
Several discussions have been held with the Director of Protection Services, the Chief Traffic Officer and other officials in this regard.  On 7 July 2009 with the co-operation and assistance   of our local authority we met with The Provincial Director, responsible for this section of road, who assured us that he would personally attend to our concerns and recommendations.  In the absence of a response however we wrote to this gentleman in September re-iterating our concern and requested an urgent response. We have now followed up with another reminder that the collisions continue, while they are 'investigating' the matter.
 
In the interim, should you as a Vermonter have relevant information or are able to make a constructive contribution toward a possible solution to this problem we will be grateful to receive your contribution. Letters should be addressed to the Chairman, VRA, PO Box 142 Onrus Rivier 7201 and marked : Attention Paul Pfister. 
 
Please note that we cannot, unfortunately, acknowledge or respond to contributions, owing to financial and other constraints.
 
VOS COASTAL PATH UPDATE
JOHN BOWMAN
 
Not too much to add to the news contained in the last Vermonter. I understand that  the tenders for repairs to the parts of the path damaged in the June storm, and also for the new section of the path in Vermont between the Jan Rabie Tidal Pool and the ‘sloepie’, close next week. A number of contractors who are interested in tendering recenty assessed the work, together with Overstrand Municipal officials, and members of the VOS Committee. We hope to see work started here soon. Vermonters who purchased ’memory tiles’ at R2000 each,  will then see these in place. Meanwhile, some sections of the path which was damaged in Sandbaai, have been repaired by a local contractor, financed by VOS funds.
 
The Vermont section of the path, notwithsatnding some damage, remains a very pleasant walk, especially as the weather warms up, and the whales are active just off-shore. Many residents and holiday-makers are making use  of it. Many thanks to Peter Burger’s team from the Municipality, and local residents, for their work in cutting back the bushes over-hanging the path.
 
More news is that an exciting VOS fund-raising event is being held in the Sandbaai Hall,  at 19.30 on Friday 11th of December. This takes the form of a dance, where we will have a DJ who will, I am assured, play music to suit all tastes! There will be a Cash Bar, and those coming along are asked to bring a plate of eats. Tickets are R50 each. Please get in touch with Don McDonald (028-3163362) or myself (028-3164815) to buy tickets, and make up a table of 10. It would be great to see lots of Vermonters, and visitors who might be with them over the holiday season, at this fun fund-raising event!
 
INFORMATION ON THE “INSECTS” (MIDGES/GNATS/MUGGIES)
VIC HAMILTON-ATTWELL
 
Background
For some time Vermont Pan has been a perennial pan.  Due to this, the residents around the Pan enjoy the Pan and the birds attracted to it.  The Pan is currently nicely filled to an area of 122425m2 (Ms Lee-Ann Rauch, OSM).  This gives us approx. 12 hectare of water surface.  The water level at the upper end of Shearwater Road is 400mm deep.
 
Since the previous summer, residents experienced a wave of “muggies” (gnats/ midges).  This plague however lasted into the winter months with little abatement.(Eds Note: Fortunately, as we move towards Friday braais at the Pan time, there has been a noticeable easing in this problem)
 
Current status
 
Various specialists from Onderstepoort Veterinary Services to specialists on pesticides and biological controls were contacted and information collected.  The base-line is that:
 
For the short term a larvalcide (Bacillus thuriengensis isreali) is recommended to kill off the larvae.  This product is completely environmentally safe and will not damage fish, plants or birds in the Pan.  The cost will be approx. R12000 plus.
 
For the long term a biological control organism has to be introduced.  The suggested organism is Chiclid (Tilapia spp) fishes i.e. the Cape chiclid.  There is however a problem.  Information has it, that there are bass in the Pan – introduced by either a well-doer or through natural processes.  Bass are predators and do not feed on larvae or pupae, but mainly on the smaller chiclids.
 
Chiclids can be introduced to the Pan to control the larvae, but with a constant supply of “food” the bass population will explode, upsetting the ecology even more!  The bass have to be eliminated before chiclids will cope with the larvae!
 
The Vermont Conservation Trust in close cooperation with specialists, are recommending that the short term solution be implemented and the results evaluated.  In the mean time we request all residents to bear with us and do not interfere with Nature. The VCT is currently compiling a report based on a short questionnaire that was distributed.
 
Please note that it is, in terms of a Municipal By-Law, illegal for any unauthorised person to administer any weed-killer or poison in any public place.    
 
Brekvisbaai Clean-Up
 
On the morning of Saturday 31st October a very successful Vermont community project was undertaken, when we set out to clear away the masses of rotting kelp which were littering the beach at Brekvisbaai. This was making conditions quite unpleasant for people using the beach. Paul Pfister publicised the event in the local media. The nine Vermonters who participated were assisted by Deon Louw and his team, who were financed by local sponsors. They made a big difference! Although it was very hard work, ‘many hands make light work’, and the big task was accomplished in no time at all, leaving the beach pristine again. Grateful thanks to all involved!
CAPE FRANCOLIN (SPURFOWL) CHICKS 
 
Finally, its that time of year when there are clutches of Francolin chicks around, and time  for our annual plea!  We are indeed blessed that we have so many Cape Francolin families in our midst-one of the icons of Vermont. Once again we watch the arrival of a clutch of eight or so chicks in each ‘family’ . Bit by bit these are decimated, leaving only few survivors. Mother Nature is responsible in some cases as they fall prey to Mongooses, or Raptors. But more usually it is dogs or cats. PLEASE keep your dogs on a leash when out walking, and your cats under control, or with a bell on their collar. And if you see others with unleashed dogs, ask them politely to play the game. Unleashed dogs are illegal! 
 
24 HOUR CONTROL NUMBER               028-3138111
 
Please remember to use the above number to  report any illegal activities to the Overstrand Municipality.
 
John Bowman 
 
This edition of the Vermonter kindly sponsored by Theo Agenbag and Onrus Pharmacy. Thank you very much!
 

















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