Ward 2 report by Ward Councillor Dean Biddulph – February 2012
Safety Security – Metro Police Force Could Add Millions to Municipal Budget
Eastern Cape Safety and Liaison MEC Helen Sauls-August has finally gazetted the establishment of the force, paving the way for a formal metro police force, but the issue of whether the Metro can afford the service is now paramount.
The establishment of a Municipal Police Force in Nelson Mandela Bay could add an estimated R40 million “if not far more” to the annual budget. A municipal official who requested that he remain anonymous said that the establishment of the Metro Police would have significant financial implications, particularly at this stage, and could result in a larger hike in property rates than is currently envisaged.
The DA argues that the joint departments that would create the basis for the new force should look to operational efficiencies and to increased, more effective revenue collection to make up the additional funding requirements.
Service Delivery JOC (Joint Operations Centre)
The metro Service Delivery JOC continues to be a tremendous help in improving turnaround times on a host of day-to-day complaints reported. As always, a special vote of thanks goes out to the JOC staff and to Brigadier John Best, assisted by Lee-anne Meiring.
Each and every complaint is given a unique tracking number on a dedicated system, with daily feedback going back to the office of the Municipal Manager.
Anyone wishing to report any municipal complaints can do so by making use the toll free number 0800 20 5050.
Kings Beach Upgrade – Environmental Impact Study Underway
The environmental assessment process is now underway for Phase Two of the redevelopment and landscaping of the southern portion of the Kings Beach node by the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA). The Basic Information Document for the project, provided by CEN Integrated Environmental Management Unit, states that Phase 1 of the revitalization and re-engineering of the area has already started.
Phase 2, for which the environmental assessment is required will consist of:
- Construction of a boardwalk that will cross the dune system
- Reducing the height of a portion of the dune to its original constructed height – the dune was artificially constructed in the 1980s to “allow visual connectivity between the park and the beach”
- Dune rehabilitation
- Construction and upgrade of a skate park, and
- Construction of a parking lot.
CEN Integrated Environmental Management Unit says that based on preliminary investigations a number of issues have been identified, including the impact on coastal ecology and sediment dynamics; noise, air, water and sediment pollution; erosion of visual impacts; waste management; socio-economic impacts, and cultural and heritage impacts.
Any interested and affected parties have until December 10 to register with CEN and once this initial phase of public participation has been completed a Draft Basic Assessment Report will be compiled and submitted.
Long Overdue Structural Repairs Planned for Humewood Promenade
An environmental impact basic assessment is underway for the proposed construction of a seawall and concrete refurbishment of the existing promenade on the beachfront between Macarthur Baths and Humewood Beach.
Funds for the work have been committed in the current financial year.
The Basic Information Document compiled by CEN Integrated Environmental Management Unit points out that “a status quo” assessment of the current condition of the promenade was conducted by Afri-Coast Engineers for the Municipality last year.
The objective of the study was “to evaluate the extent of deterioration of the promenade facility and to suggest repair methodologies”. The report concluded that the promenade was “significantly degraded and in need of structural repair.
“If the repair work is not done, there is a strong possibility that in time, the facility and adjacent road network will collapse.” The report states that two alternatives were considered, adding that the preferred option was to build a “seawall” under the existing promenade structure by “building a box under the overhang to form a solid entity”.
The “seawall” would be built using a sand and seawater mix that once compacted would be filled with foam
concrete. “The system is therefore closed, which will assist in minimising public safety and environmental risks.
The report points out that the municipality currently “actively manages and removes” accumulated sand on the beachfront that “compromises public facilities” and it is proposed to use this sand for the project. The “seawall” has been designed to take into account sea level rise and storm surges.
Other activities connected with the project include the refurbishment of concrete balustrades, staircases and “general aesthetic improvements”. The EIA will be submitted to the provincial department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs.
Process of Decommissioning Oil Tanks Farm Finally Underway
The process of decommissioning the existing fuel storage facilities – the tank farm -located at the Dom Pedro Quay in the Port Elizabeth Harbour is finally underway. WSP Environment and Energy, are conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment for the decommissioning that will also involve the dismantling of equipment and “remediation of the existing Dom Pedro Quay site to appropriate standards”.
Remediation of the land could take as long as two years. The current facility in the harbour consists of 52 above-ground storage tanks for petrol, diesel fuels and other oil products which are operated by four oil companies.
Authorization for the de-commissioning is required from the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environ-mental Affairs and Tour-ism, while a waste management license will have to be issued by the National Department of Environmental Affairs.
New facilities are to be built at Coega by Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo who have applied to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) for a license for the construction of nine domed roof tanks and eight internal floating roof tanks with a combined storage capacity of 233 411 cubic metres.
In addition, construction will involve a road truck facility with nine loading bays capable of loading multiple products simultaneously and handling an estimated 80 trucks a day. In terms of the timeframes advanced by the consortium for the construction of the new facility in Zone 8 of the Industrial Development Zone, it is hoped to secure the required environmental approvals by the end of July 2012 and complete construction of Phase 1 by the end of November 2013.
Testing and commissioning will result in the project being handed over in January 2014. The second phase of the project will be completed by June 2014 and the final stage 12 months later.
Task Team to Look at Port Elizabeth Waterfront Possibilities
A special task team led by Eastern Cape Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Mcebisi Jonas and Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins will look at the future use of land in the Port Elizabeth harbour.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said this morning that the future use of the land that will be vacated by the existing oil tank farm and manganese facility, both of which are to be relocated to the Coega IDZ, had not been discussed.
He said the task team would look at all the options that had been mooted and would advise him on the way forward. On his last visit to Port Elizabeth Transnet CEO Brian Molefe indicated that all options would be looked at but stressed that if it was a choice between expanding the vehicle terminal and a waterfront development he believed the vehicle terminal should take preference.
He added, however, that there was no reason why the two options had to be mutually exclusive, opening the door for a smaller waterfront development in part of the existing port. The CEO suggested that what was required was an in-depth study to look at the benefits that could flow in terms of economic growth and job creation from the two options or a combination of both.
The development of a waterfront in the Port Elizabeth Harbour is viewed as a priority project by both the Eastern Cape Government and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
R30 Million Investment in Cape Recife Abalone Ranch Over 10 Years
A total of R30 million will be invested in a proposed abalone ranch between Schoenmakerskop and Cape Recife if the project is given the green light by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The final proposal and environmental assessment has now been submitted to the department for a Record of Decision on behalf of Ulwandle Fishing.
The project will employ 31 people while the size of the Wild Coast Abalone Hatchery will have to be increased which will involve capital outlay of R2 million and the creation of an additional 13 jobs.
Tactical Task Force, a security company which is part of the consortium, intends to use local people wherever possible and train them, providing them with skills in areas such as tracking, anti-poaching and diving, and they will also have a first aid qualification. In terms of the economic model for the project it will sustain a loss of R2.1 million for the first six years of operation and thereafter record a profit of R7.7 million.
The economic model is based on the results obtained during reseeding research conducted at Cape Recife between 1998 and 2003. It is proposed that 40 000 juveniles at a cost of R2.50 each are seeded every month. One of the financial models presented with the proposal notes that based on a survival rate of 30%, 41 tons of abalone will be harvested each year, yielding an annual return on investment of 9.8%.
Province Provides Funds for Apple Express Study
The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) has provided R1.5 million for a study to ascertain the way in which the Apple Express can once again become a viable operation.
Confirming this, Mandela Bay Development Agency CEO Pierre Voges said a request for proposals for the study would be issued shortly. The study will examine the potential of the line that runs between Port Elizabeth and Avontuur in terms of freight, passenger transport and tourism.
Currently, the narrow gauge train is not operating, depriving Nelson Mandela Bay of one of its major tourist attractions. In 2010, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) called for proposals for the concessioning of a number of branch lines, among them the Apple Express, that were no longer part of its core business of transporting freight.
TFR CEO Siyabonga Gama said at the end of last year that four branch line concessions would be announced shortly but that the Apple Express was not one of them.
Documentation prepared by Transnet ahead of the branch line concessioning process says that an assessment of the potential future demand for key freight groups shows “strong growth for wood and wood products over the next several decades. “Strong growth is also expected across a range of other key commodities including food and construction materials.”
The documentation states that in 2008 approximately 16 000 tons of wood and wood products were transported on the line and this was “expected to grow substantially in the future”. The documentation further adds that it is proposed that all transshipment from the Narrow Gauge to the Cape Gauge takes place where the line terminates in Port Elizabeth.
It says it is envisaged that the concession will “run as a closed system with its own locomotives and wagons”. All trans-shipping will be the responsibility of the concessionaire.
NMMU Plans New Mechatronics Centre
The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University wants to raise R1 billion by 2020 with R500 million to be used for long-term reserves and R500 million for specific projects:
- A new Engineering Mechatronics Research, Innovation and Technology Centre
- New student residences
- A new high-performance sports centre
- A new Science Centre, and
- A new Alumni House
The university says that in the past three years is has been in “the most significant capital expansion and modernisation programme since its founding”.
Since 2008, it states, “dozens of new facilities” have been constructed on all campuses and to date some R500 million has been spent. However, it notes, science, technology and society are “rapidly changing” and the university is preparing itself for this through Vision 2020 which is about “investing in our future”.
NMMU says that new investments are going to be required in “a new generation of academic pro-grammes to help South Africans cope with the challenges of sustainability in the context of global climate change and resource limits – a new economy, new industries, cities and towns, building materials, food production, banking systems and civics.
Draft Metro Budget on 14 March 2012
The draft Nelson Mandela Bay budget will be presented to a joint meeting of the Mayoral Executive Committee and Budget Treasury Committee on 14 March 2012.
The metro has already indicated that increases of approximately 25% in electricity tariffs and between 12-14% for rates and service charges can be expected. The Adjustments Budget will be presented to a Special Council Meeting on 23 February 2012, a day after Finance Minister Pravin Ghordan presents the National Budget to Parliament.
Eastern Cape Finance Planning MEC Phumulo Masualle will present the Provincial Budget in the Provincial Legislature on 6 March 2012.
As the opposition, we will be doing all within our power in our efforts to keep these increases to affordable levels.
NMB Had Spent 19.5% of Budget after the End of the First Quarter
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had spent 19,5 % of its total budget of just over R8 billion by the end of the first quarter of the current financial year.
Figures released by the National Treasury indicate that this figure is slightly higher than for the same period last year. The figures show that the Metro had spent R1.4 billion of its operating budget of R6,6 billion and R126,4 million of its capital budget of R1,4 billion.
NMB Has R1.4 Billion Maintenance Backlog
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has an operational maintenance backlog in excess of R1.4 billion, according to the Annual Report for 2010/11 that was presented to Council at a special meeting next week in January. The bulk of the backlog, nearly R1.2 billion is required by the Infrastructure and Engineering Directorate, while R74.8 million is required by Economic Development and Recreational Services.
A total of R38.6 million is required for Environment and Health and R109.7 million for Corporate Services.
Some R295.4 million is required annually to eliminate the backlog. The Operating Budget for the 2010/11 financial year was R315.3 million and this increased to R347 million for the current financial year with R318.4 mil-lion projected for 2012/3.
NMB Average Dam Levels at 93.3%
The five major storage dams sup-plying the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality were 93.3% full when the latest reading was taken on 23 January 2012.
The Impofu Dam was 97.6% full with 103 232 megalitres of water, while the other large dam, the Kouga was at 91.1% with 114 727 megalitres of water. The situation at the other dams was: *Churchill: 91% full, with 32 050 megalitres, *Loerie: 46.3% full with 1 401 megalitres, and *Groendal: 96.1% full with 11 180 megalitres.
The Metro’s average daily consumption up till 23 January was 254 megalitres.
Metro Water 97.5% Compliant With National Standards
Water samples taken from 51 points across Nelson Mandela Bay between October and December revealed a 97.5% compliance rate for total bacterial count “indicating excellent potable water quality”.
A report to the Public Health Committee in January stated that the “points” cover the 50 reservoirs serving the Metro with samples taken weekly on a two-week rotation basis.
It further added that samples are taken in accordance with the South African National standards for drinking water. The report says in the event of a sample result deviating from this standard, a re-sample is done immediately. Should this fail as well, a joint investigation is conducted with Infrastructure and Engineering to eliminate the source of contamination.
Beach Front Dog Control Measures
As a reminder, dogs are only allowed on the beach (in the coastal zone) from the harbour wall to the King’s Beach slipway.
Between the slipway and Pipe parking area, dogs are allowed at the back of beach on grassed areas only. Dogs are allowed again from Pipe parking area to Receife. Dogs will also be allowed on the connecting sidewalks between King’s and Hobie.
Dogs will be allowed on all other beaches OUTSIDE of demarcated bathing areas.
Dogs are to be kept on a leash and owners must have means of disposing of faeces. Fines that have been promulgated through council are: Not removing faeces R1000.00, dog not on a leash R500.00 and walking a dog in a restricted area R500.00
Beachfront Water Safety – How to Deal with Dangerous Rip Currents
Following a series of tragic drownings at popular beaches within the Humewood/Summerstrand area, the following advice was published in the Bluewater Chronicle by Editor Dave Bamber. The Bluewater Chronicle Summerstrand Edition is a new community paper, published monthly and is available free of charge from major shopping outlets in Summerstrand and Humewood.
There have recently been strong rip currents along beaches in the NMB area which create dangers for bathers who choose not to swim strictly within demarcated bathing areas and when there are no lifeguards on duty. The very warm weather has also caused a greater influx of visitors to our beaches this season. The safest way to swim in the sea is obviously to swim where there are lifeguards present and within the designated bathing area.
The two main ingredients for a rip current to be created are gaps between sand bars and the water level, irrespective of whether the tide is high or low. In brief, water crashes over the sand bars, filling the area between the sand bars and the beach, resulting in a level of water being higher than it naturally would.
The water surges to the shore where some is naturally absorbed by the shoreline and the rest flows back out to sea. The returning water comes up against the resistance of the sand bars but escapes where there are gaps between the sand bars. It is in these gaps, where the resistance is lower, resulting in a greatly accelerated water flow which creates a rip current.
It is important to know that a rip current generally dissipates once it has passed the gap in the sand bar and rarely go far out to sea. If you are caught in a rip current and cannot make it safely back to shore, DO NOT PANIC, do not expend all of your energy trying to fight against the rip. Rip currents do not pull you under water; it will carry you out to sea.
If caught in a rip, allow it to draw you out to where it dissipates and then try to swim parallel to shore for about 30m before once again swimming back into shore using the incoming waves behind you to assist your exit.
Water – Stepped Tariffs Remain
Residents are allowed to use hose-pipes and sprinklers to water their gardens only between 16:00 and 10:00 daily. In addition, the washing of driveways, cars, roofs and buildings may be undertaken but only with a high pressure cleaner.
The metro has taken a decision that stepped tariffs will remain in place to encourage users to remain frugal with their consumption as we are in a water stressed region.
Metro Dams at 97.9% Capacity
The major storage dams supplying Nelson Mandela Bay had a total combined capacity of 97.9% yesterday, according to the latest figures supplied by the municipality.
The biggest dam, the Kouga was at 97.9% and the second largest, the Impofu was at 99.1%. The municipality said the average daily consumption from the be-ginning of November to date was 254Ml which was only 10% above the lower consumption levels recorded during water restrictions and well below over 300 megalitres of some two years ago.
The municipality said at the current rate “we save one day’s water every five days or 20% less water consumed.”
Traffic matters are dealt with on an ongoing basis – should you have any specific areas of concern, please bring these to my attention so that I can assist. Problem areas currently receiving attention remain the entrance to The Boardwalk casino, taxis and speeding along Beach Rd and La Roche Drive.
Summerstrand Refuse Transfer Site
In addition to the previous actions reported, I have been given commitment from Waste Management that they will be placing an additional two skips into the transfer station. This will assist in preventing waste and refuse from being dumped on the ground when skips are full and waiting for removal.
As mentioned before, Waste management have addressed the numerous complaints received with the operator to ensure that all garbage is properly placed inside the skips provided. The operators have been instructed to ensure that skips are regularly removed and that the facility is locked every evening by 17:30.
One of the problems reported is that of residents arriving after the facility has closed who dump their refuse outside the gates. Please ensure that if you use the facility, that you do so during operating hours. Should you see anyone dumping outside the locked gate, please try to get a number plate number and send to me so that we can try to take action against any transgressors.
Ward inspections are still undertaken on a six weekly cycle between representatives from metro parks, traffic, electricity, beach office, metro environmental and I. During these inspections various problem areas are raised and possible solutions and interventions considered for implementation.
Should you have anything that you wish to include into the ward tours, please let me know and I will include your concerns into my interactions with officials.
Thank you for your interaction and for bringing ward matters to my attention.
I must extend a special thank you to Patrick Cull for his excellent daily publication, Metro Minutes, from which much of the material for this newsletter was sourced.
METRO MINUTES is an electronic up-to date daily newsletter sent out between 12 noon and 2pm from Monday to Friday on decisions taken by the Nelson Mandela Bay Council and its committees, in addition to business developments within the Metro.
It is available on a paid subscription basis at R50 a month or R500 for the year. To receive this newsletter, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org