ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE BIRDHAVEN RATEPAYERS’ ASSOCIATION HELD ON MONDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2013 AT 18h00, AT BELLAVISTA SCHOOL, BIRDHAVEN
Peter welcomed all the residents who had come to the meeting. Thanking them for their support.
Melissa Carstens, Kerry & Jeanne Kuhlmann
Minutes of previous meeting – 5 November 2012
Approved at ratepayers monthly meeting
Speaker – Marian Laserson
Marian is an architect with town planning and heritage experience. An environmental activist, particularly in conservation of urban wetlands, rivers and ground water, She is a member of the Gauteng wetland forum. Marian gave a very interesting talk on ‘wetland issues’ around Johannesburg.
Marian has been involved in many wetland projects / initiatives in and around the city of Johannesburg including the selling of sections of Huddlepark for development and a vast new development on Sizwe Farm in Linksfield. This former cemetery was home to about 7 000 graves and she was concerned that the digging up of these graves could lead to an outbreak of diseases.
Some interesting facts:
- Birdhaven is on the riparian [river area] zone linked to the Sandspruit.
- Happy to see Birdhaven is adhering to their RSDF plan
- JF Henderson also on a wetland.
- Densification increases hard non-porous surfaces where previously there were soft surfaces which is overloading the storm water system
- When subdividing – mature trees must be retained as the water table rises.
- A wetland is not always obvious. Most important reason for retaining wetlands is to minimise the effects of climate change.
- Groundwater in Johannesburg is equivalent of the size of Kariba Dam
Report by Councillor Jack Cooper
- Dump – recyclers are part of Johannesburg’s waste policy. The city would ideally like to accommodate them. Jo’burg Properties have agreed to allocate a site next to the dump as a recycling area. As they appear to be inefficiently run, we are hoping that this change will be put in place early next year.
- JC suggests Birdhaven do an E.I.A study on how bird sanctuary and river are affected by the dump and the recyclers.
Roads – the humps in Kernick Ave were inspected by Owen Wheelan and they do comply with the Jo’burg Roads Agency [JRA] specs.
- JRA has an ambitious road project on the go, unfortunately no roads in our area have been identified. An aerial survey was used to identify the roads that required resurfacing. Our ward has been promised road surfacing next year.
- Billing issues – the system was shut down and re-instated. Hopefully it will now function effectively.
- If an issue is reported please ensure that you get a reference number. Richard Jones is in charge of our area
Elections 2014 – register on 9 / 10 November with your green ID.
The Birdhaven Triangle which Peter addressed in his report
7.1 Chairman’s report Peter Campbell (see below)
- Land Development
- Parks Report
7.2 Security Report Greg Roomer (see below)
7.3 Treasurer’s Report Shannon Castle (see below)
Street Captains and Communication Annetta Bilchik
Annetta felt that this had been covered in Peter and Greg’s reports.
There are certain streets in Birdhaven that require street captains. Please volunteer.
Annetta once again expressed her delight in serving on the Ratepayers Committee.
Election of Committee and Chairman
The entire committee of 2013 offered their services for 2014
Vote of Thanks
Greg thanked Peter for his continued hard work and dedication to the suburb.
Few residents are aware of the vast amount of time Peter dedicates to our suburb.
The meeting adjourned at 19h15.
Good evening and a very warm welcome to our Birdhaven Ratepayers’ Association’s Annual General Meeting. It is wonderful to see so many old friends and also to be able to welcome those of you who are newcomers to our very beautiful suburb.
We also welcome Jack Cooper, our Councillor in Ward 74, as well as representatives of MB Cap, Stallion, 7-Arrows, and the Norwood Policing Forum.
We are privileged to have Marian Laserson talk to us this evening. She is an architect and environmentalist and is an expert on rivers and pollution, and my understanding is that she is very involved in the plans for the development of the Zandspruit which is the river that runs through the Birdhaven bird sanctuary.
This year has been one in which we have seen some progress on certain of the projects, and some setbacks on others. I will give more details later in my report. We all continue to live in the beautiful suburb of Birdhaven which is, as I have said before, the pearl in the oyster of Johannesburg – conveniently situated with very good schools, shopping centres, parks and highways, and even the Rosebank Station for the Gautrain. I can think of no good reason why I would want to live anywhere else and I hope you will all agree with me.
LAND DEVELOPMENT: Before I comment on what has happened in the suburb I think I should once again explain the Regional Spatial Development Framework as we understand it and as we have it documented. Most of our stands are approximately 3000 sq.m. or a little more. The RSDF says that if we wish to subdivide our stands, two conditions apply:-
- If the original house is maintained then a stand of 1000 sq.m. can become a subdivision.
- However, if the house is demolished then the stand sizes should be 1250 sq.m.
In other words, this would most probably result in each stand being divided into two which would be a doubling of the number of residents in the suburb. The Johannesburg City Council is determined to densify the area in which we live because of its proximity to Rosebank and the Gautrain but potential developers, and even some residents, should not make the mistake of seeing this as an open invitation to carve up stands however they please. Any application outside of the RSDF’s parameters will be met with fierce resistance. If you are thinking of rezoning your stand you would be well advised to consult with us first.
Although the Jo’burg Department of Planning recognize the RSDF they say they would prefer for us to subdivide into three, with each stand being approximately 1000 sq.m. Over time this could result in Birdhaven becoming an up market townhouse development which I believe we would prefer to avoid if we can. Do we concede or do we continue to object in order to minimize the impact? You must tell me. Of course we are also faced with the other situation in that some residents who wish to sell their property to developers want to get as much money as they can for their property and, as a result, they are prepared to prostitute their ideals by agreeing to three per stand, or more if they can get it, merely to get some more money into their own personal coffers.
As mentioned earlier there have been a number of subdivisions which have been sold and the one on the Birdhaven Circle (now No. 11 Greenacres) has had a house built on it. Building on the corner of Wrenrose and Greenacres is well underway and there continues to be building alterations taking place in the suburb, most of which are improving the suburb and helping to make it a more desirable place in which to live.
JAMES AND ETHEL GREY PARK: Last year I mentioned that AMDEC, the management company of Melrose Arch, were planning, with the agreement of Jo’burg Parks, to take over the maintenance and management of the Park which would have been enormously beneficial. Unfortunately this development ground to a halt as a result of a potential take-over of AMDEC and we are now waiting to see if the new owners are prepared to continue with the idea.
LITTER SORTING: Litter sorting in Melrose Street near Pikitup continues and, despite the many letters and even a petition from residents to the Johannesburg City Council, no action is being taken. It would appear as though there are a number of other suburbs in which similar litter sorting is taking place, which is also creating a huge problem in those suburbs.
However, there has been a development in that Pikitup have applied for 1000 sq.m. of land on the East side of the dump to be allocated to them, to be fenced and made available to the litter sorters as their base, they could then throw any of the litter sorted that they are not going to sell for recycling into the Pikitup skips next door and that would give them security for their sorted litter. We are now waiting for Pikitup to make the next move to have this area fenced and the litter sorters moved but, like everything else with Jo’burg Parks, it takes many months to get action.
CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUND: Shelley Kessler’s Children’s Playground seems to be running very well and has proved to be a great success. The sadness is, however, that some of their fencing has been stolen and the kiddies can now not be contained within the playground and need to be watched to make sure that they don’t go roaming off into the bigger Park.
ROAD RACES AND EVENTS IN JAMES & ETHEL GREY PARK: It would appear as though the James & Ethel Grey Park and vicinity is becoming more and more popular for major road races and even for some other events. We had the Colour Festival which we consider should not be allowed in the Park as there was loud music playing from midday until 10 p.m. which was very disturbing to all the residents in the vicinity and, in particular, to those in Thrushton Place and Laura Lane in Melrose North and Edgewood Road.
The big event this year was the Bonitas City2City race which the organisers are trying to develop into a major event, similar to the Comrades Marathon and the Two Oceans race. There are three races under this heading, namely a 10 km, a 21 km and then a 50 km race which is from Johannesburg to Pretoria and vice-a-versa. This race will be based out of the JEG Park every second year with the other year the base being in Pretoria. It was well organized and the area was cleaned up properly afterwards but, once again, there were loud speakers and noise from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. on that particular Sunday.
Another very well organized race in the suburb out of The Wanderers which happened this year for the first time was the Spar Ladies’ Race. In previous years this was held out of the Old Parktonian Sports Club in Bordeaux, Randburg. Some residents contacted me regarding this race and I will be meeting with the organisers in the near future.
We will also continue to meet with the organisers of all these events to try and ensure that residents’ interests are taken into account in their organization of the events. I don’t think we are going to have much luck in stopping the events or persuading them to move elsewhere, but we will do our best.
We do receive contributions to our coffers from some of the race organisers and we thank J.P. Morgan, City2City (Bonitas) and Spar Ladies’ Race for theirs.
SKYDECK: It is our understanding that the idea of building a Skydeck across the road, close to Melrose Arch, has been dropped.
THE BIRDHAVEN TRIANGLE: This saga continues and it is extremely difficult to understand why such a simple decision cannot be taken by the Council. There is an actual plan that has been drawn up showing how the Park in front of the shops will be beautified and how it will stop slowly deteriorating into a dust bowl – this plan has been submitted on more than one occasion to Jo’burg Parks without getting any response. We write letters frequently and all we are told is that Jo’burg Parks has to go through a process which is what they are doing.
Ralph Chin, who is going to pay for the development and see that it is properly managed, continues tirelessly to try and get agreement out of Jo’burg Parks,. Within the last two weeks we have learnt that there has been a change in management of Jo’burg Parks and Ralph has met with the new gentleman in charge, who seems to be much more willing to take decisions and to make things happen, and so we hope that something will happen in the near future.
ROADS AND TRAFFIC: It never ceases to amaze me how many residents just ride on the back of others and never put their hands into their pockets to assist with improving our suburb. Shannon Castle put an enormous effort into getting speed humps installed in Wrenrose Avenue and we asked the benefiting residents to make a contribution towards the speed humps – only 50% of the residents made such a contribution and the rest got the speed humps for nothing.
The roads in the suburb continue unattended except for the odd pot hole that may be filled when it appears, but we are told that Jo’burg Roads has no money to spend on Birdhaven.
SECURITY: Greg Roomer continues to do a great job with his Committee of very willing Street Captains whose main function is to provide liaison between the main committee and the residents. They continue to keep in touch with what is happening in their neck of the woods and we continue to be one of the safest suburbs in the North. Greg will make a few comments shortly. I welcome representatives from Stallion, Norwood Police and 7-Arrows to this meeting who, together with MB Cap, are an excellent crime prevention team.
FINANCE: Shannon Castle has done an excellent job rebuilding our finances. He has worked hard at getting out statements to residents for their overdue contributions to the Birdhaven Kitty, and yet he tells me that only one of the blocks of flats have paid, and only 33% of residents have paid.
Database: Once again I have to thank Patti Barlan for the great job that she does with our database with sending out e-mails to all the members of the suburb who have e-mail addresses. Individual residents in some of the flats still present a problem – e-mail is so much more efficient than letter delivery – most of the young don’t even know what a letter looks like!
The Birdhaven Brief: Very many thanks to Lucy Graham, who has come on board and attends our Committee meetings, she organisers a 4-monthly Birdhaven Brief. I hope you all agree that this is a very readable and enjoyable document – you will have received the latest copy shortly before this meeting. Well done to Lucy – our grateful thanks to her for all that she does to make our Brief very interesting.
OUR CITY COUNCILLOR: As you are aware Jack Cooper is our City Councillor and his enthusiasm and efforts on behalf of Ward 74 are much appreciated. Jack writes letters, attends meetings, responds to requests for help (although not always successful in the letters that he writes to the City Council). The City Council’s decision-making process has become very ponderous, many times to the extent of just no response at all. Thank you Jack for all your efforts on our behalf, for your patience, and for keeping on chipping away at what we are trying to achieve, it is much appreciated.
Chairman: Peter Campbell
Treasurer: Shannon Castle
Security: Greg Roomer
Secretaries: Annetta Bilchik & Dale Marsh
Maintenance: Melissa Carstens
Members: Constance Smith
Birdhaven Brief: Lucy Graham
Each and every one of this group of people are extremely busy and they find it difficult to give as much time as we would like them to do to the business of Birdhaven Ratepayers, we need some more hands on deck and we have called for them before. Please come forward and offer your assistance and help us carry the load as we cannot do it on our own, it is desperately necessary to have some more assistance on the committee.
BIRDHAVEN has a conscientious and proactive Ratepayers’ Association Committee, who are all volunteers, but when long-standing committee members have empty nests and move out of the suburb we must call upon all residents to come forward to give some of their time and expertise to the suburb.
CHAIRMAN : BIRDHAVEN RATEPAYERS ’ ASSOCIATION
The Birdhaven Ratepayer’s Association finances have maintained (and grown) a positive balance for the 2013 year with an increase in contributions from residents.
Of the approximately 120 homes in Birdhaven 39 have contributed in the 2013 year (Nov 2012 to Oct 2013) – this represents 33% of the residences (up from 20% in 2012).
Of the 4 apartment blocks only one has contributed (up from zero in 2012), one of the businesses (up from zero) and one of the two schools (Bellavista!).
Despite the disruptions of the many sporting events held in the area, generous donations were made to the BRA, in 2013 this amounted to R24 500:
JP Morgan R12 000
Bonitas City2City R7 500
Spar Ladies Race R5 000
Reminders to all residents to make their annual contribution of R500 to the BRA (and R50 per unit for apartments). Reminders will emailed to residents and invoices will be sent out to all of the apartment blocks.
The financial statement as at 1 November 2013 is:
|Opening balance – Oct 2012||R 35,866.29|
|Add: Member contributions and donations||R 72,000.00|
|Add: Investec Savings Account||R 41,193.01|
|Add: Interest||R 702.14|
|Less: Legal fees||R 6,138.60|
|Less: Admin||R 1,005.85|
|Less: Payments to vendors||R 27,014.00|
|Closing balance – Nov 2013||R115,602.99|
There are no liabilities or pending payments for the BRA.
BIRDHAVEN SECURITY SUB-COMMITTEE 2013
Those of us who call Johannesburg home were (and still are) at greater risk this year than we have been for some time. There was a noticeable rise in criminal activity across the city and the Police and security companies found themselves stretched.
Fortunately, Birdhaven’s dedicated active policing strategy together with that of surrounding areas, although not perfect, was effective in limiting criminal activity in our suburb. There is no question that the dedicated neighbourhood patrols by Stallion Security and MBCAP (together with its wider net of affiliated CAP initiatives) are the reason for our relatively low crime levels.
YOU are your BEST protection. We cannot expect a limited number of guards to have their eyes on every street and every house and on every one of us at all times. Make sure that you, your family and staff develop good security habits, send your housekeeping staff to our annual domestic workers gathering and to the regular MBCAP awareness and training events.
! ALERT !
IMMEDIATELY REPORTING anything suspicious is our MOST POWERFUL WEAPON OF COMMUNAL DEFENCE. What is suspicious? – Two or more males in a car (of any description) or on foot; A single driver waiting outside a house or driving around the block could be a getaway driver waiting for his accomplices. WHEN REPORTING: Be precise as to the location, give as many details as possible; colour and make of car, number plate and details of the people and even their clothing – without delay!
MBCAP Tactical Officers made 4 arrests in the area and many other arrests were made by CAP in other neighbourhoods. A vigilant gardener in Ravenswood Avenue reported suspicious activity and this prevented a home invasion in August.
62% of Melrose – Birdhaven Residents contribute to MBCAP, if you know someone who chooses not to support it, encourage them to be part of our communal efforts.
MBCAP CALL CENTRE: 086 18 000 18
STALLION 0861 728 765