Locals thankful for cleaner vlei

2017-03-07 09:43
The municipality has cleaned Princess Vlei after residents complained.

The municipality has cleaned Princess Vlei after residents complained.

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Princess Vlei may be looking cleaner, but a more permanent solution is needed, residents say.

The City of Cape Town cleaned the vlei last week following complaints from residents who said Princess Vlei was clogged with all sorts of litter. Concerned residents say the stench coming from the vlei was unbearable. They were also worried that the breeding season of the wildlife would be affected due to weeds.

Ellen Fedele from Plumstead says the state of the vlei had them concerned about the wildlife at the vlei.

“I’m so passionate about the leopard toad and their home and safety. This affects them so much. The place must be cleaned up. The amount of dirt is unbelievable,” she says.

“I was so worried the plastic boom would break because of the dirt. Due to the vlei not being cleaned, there was so much dirt, like mattresses, litter, trolleys. We are so thankful for the council cleaning the vlei. Not only does it make the area look much better, it gives a chance for the wildlife in the vlei to strive better,” she says.

Another resident, Ralph Freese, says residents have noticed a “significant improvement”.

“It was getting out of hand, the smell from there was unbearable and it was just unsightly. I support civic pride so we had to raise our concerns so that the vlei is clean,” he says.
Jan Burger, chairperson of the Princess Vlei Civic Association, says he is happy that it has been cleaned but a permanent solution is needed.

“The City is not tackling the root cause. They are just cleaning the top and other weeds are left to breed. They must look into going deep and removing the seeds. Yes, it is costly but it will be of great benefit in the long run. The bulrush is a problem, so it must be cut off completely. Even if they clean now, next season we will still have the same problem because of the seeds that are left there. They must attack the root problem, then we know we are done with it once and for all.”

Ward councillor Kevin Southgate confirms that the vlei is currently being cleaned as part of the City Winter Preparation Programme. “Every part of Princess Vlei has been cleaned with the exception of the section at the southern side of Little Princess Vlei where it is impossible for the machine to reach. Plans are currently underway to attend to it. Work is continuing as the machines are currently still on site. The only work still to be done is the removal of the debris. The City allows for this to dry out before they remove it to the waste facilities.The operation at Little Princess Vlei was delayed because of the breeding season of the endangered leopard toads. The Roads and Stormwater Department indicated that they will begin the clean-up operations in January this year,” he says.

Southgate adds that residents can help keep the vlei clean by spreading the message about the dire effects of illegal dumping and littering. “All of the money that we spend on clearing dumped material and litter from canals, could be re-directed to other service delivery priorities. We need our residents to act as ambassadors for these important ecological areas in general and in their neighbourhoods. The City is not able to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping and littering on its own.”

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