Public asked to set a new benchmark

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Old benches at the Silvermine wetlands are getting an upgrade.PHOTOs: Irene Wijmer
Old benches at the Silvermine wetlands are getting an upgrade.PHOTOs: Irene Wijmer

The Riverine Rovers, a subgroup of the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area (Fosna), welcomed a group of volunteers to the Silvermine wetlands on Saturday 27 March to assist with ongoing conservation and maintenance efforts.

The wetlands are in the process of receiving a minor upgrade, with the City of Cape Town and the Riverine Rovers tackling the replacement of bench planks first. The regular maintenance of the wetlands and facilities is intended to aid the conservation of this important ecosystem and to encourage tourism.

“Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems in Cape Town, they provide habitat to a variety of wildlife species where they have an abundance of cover, food and water. Wetlands are also important for tourism as visitors are able to enjoy nature-based activities which include birding, fishing and hiking,” says Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for community service and health.

The City is replacing the old wooden planks from the benches, and seating areas, with more durable and long-lasting planks made of recycled materials – the first refurbishment of these items since they were placed many years ago.

“Due to high salt content and strong winds, the life span of benches in the wetland is significantly reduced compared to other sheltered areas. The benches are being replaced with recycled plastic, polywood beams that are more resistant to UV light, salt, sand-blasting and strong winds associated with the area. There are also additional support structures being placed in the middle of the benches to prevent them from warping in the future,” Badroodien explains.

According to Riverine Rovers chair, Dr Dave Balfour, the low-level boardwalk also needs to be removed as the annual flooding of the boardwalk has rotted the wood.

“The planks have been replaced in the past but the stage has been reached whereby the entire boardwalk needs to be replaced or removed. Some years ago, we were quoted in excess of R250 000 to replace it and there was no money available,” he says.

That is still the case, he adds, however, in its place will be a grassy dry-season crossing, once the project is completed.

The City says the boardwalks, under management by their recreation and parks department, are undergoing routine maintenance where planks are being replaced as and where needed.

According to the Rovers, management of the Lower Silvermine River requires the wetlands to be dredged to remove the build-up of silt. The challenge, they say, is that “the boardwalk made it very difficult in the past to dredge”.

Both private groups and the City work continually on the upkeep of the wetlands and seek solutions for such challenges.

The continued conservation and sustainability of tourism in wetland areas, according to Badroodien, requires a holistic management approach to their upkeep, which includes:

  • Invasive alien vegetation clearing;
  • boardwalk and path maintenance;
  • water quality monitoring; and
  • restoration and fire management.

The work on benches is set to be completed in mid-April.

The Riverine Rovers are calling on the public to get involved in the maintenance project.

  • Join the Fosna WhatsApp group on 076 454 8467 or follow the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area Facebook group to stay up-to-date on all their activities or to get involved. Alternatively, WhatsApp Riverine Rover Martin Scholtz on 083 461 3840 for information.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As a child or as an adult, have you ever been a victim of bullying?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, at school
53% - 486 votes
Yes, at work
16% - 147 votes
No, I've never experienced this
31% - 287 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.31
(0.0)
GBP/ZAR
19.81
(0.0)
EUR/ZAR
17.15
(0.0)
AUD/ZAR
11.07
(0.0)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(0.0)
Gold
1,776.67
(0.0)
Silver
25.97
(0.0)
Platinum
1,203.79
(0.0)
Brent Crude
66.77
(-0.3)
Palladium
2,781.00
(0.0)
All Share
68,699
(+1.3)
Top 40
62,898
(+1.3)
Financial 15
12,446
(+0.8)
Industrial 25
89,364
(+0.8)
Resource 10
70,350
(+2.2)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo