The NMB Transition Network supports efforts to improve the Baakens River Valley area, to preserve and rehabilitate the rich biodiversity as well as make it a safe and interesting place for people to visit.
We recently participated in a visioning workshop around what the area might look like and what steps can be taken toward this shared vision. Below is a letter from the site manager, December Goduka, following the workshop, summarizing what came out of it.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
30 June 2011
Dear Baakens Valley Passionista
Follow-up to the workshop
Wow! What a turnout and what great vision and passion! We were able to show that the Baakens Valley indeed has real potential to become a vital asset and treasure for the City of Nelson Mandela Bay and all its residents. A very big thank-you to you for coming along, giving so much, and helping to make the day such a rich, inclusive and inspiring process.
There are a few items that we as the Project Steering Committee (PSC) were tasked to follow up on. And just to ensure you are fully in the picture with the PSC – The partnership is comprised ofNelsonMandelaBayMunicipality’s Environmental Services, WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), Wilderness Foundation, SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute) and the Table Mountain Fund of WWF-SA.
- The establishment of a database. The workshop agreed that a database of all participants should be established. This would play the valuable role of maintaining ongoing communication by informing people of events and activities taking place in the Valley. It will serve to promote the Valley, advocate for its increased usage and update you on all progress. The database is for the use of all its members. It is not a gripe forum. We are well aware that there are some significant challenges within the Baakens Valley – the forum will be a place to discuss how we can work together to resolve these challenges and not just to complain about them.
We realise too that we all need to be respectful of one another in sending out emails, and thus make use of the database appropriately.
This is intended to be a dynamic and inclusive forum. We would encourage it to grow and thus any interested people would be welcome to join.
- Safety and Security. We are all aware that the safety of all people making use of the Valley is paramount. This is a non-negotiable. The rangers are back in the Valley thanks to the support of the private sector – Lion Roars, Canon and Dynamic Products. We are planning to implement a Safety and Security Committee which will include South African Police Services (SAPS), the rangers and the private security companies to ensure that a comprehensive plan for safety in the Baakens Valley is implemented.
- Working groups, activities and events. Many ideas were suggested for ongoing activities. We are keen to encourage everyone with ideas to come forward and offer their time, skill and passion. These may be activities, events or ongoing work groups.
- Working groups: We will start with those that were proposed at the workshop and hope that over time they may be expanded. Some are already in operation and others are to be initiated. December Goduka, Site Manager, will take responsibility for this and provide information through the database. These include the following:
i. Alien Clearing Working Group – coordinated by Steff Schenk
ii. Guided nature walks and talks – coordinated by the Baakens Valley Preservation Trust and Birdlife (Nelia Garner to coordinate)
iii. Biodiversity management and research – CREW members, (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) Adriaan Grobler and Clayton Weatherall- Thomas are involved in plant surveys and would welcome volunteers.
iv. Stormwater and Sewerage. A group together with relevant municipal departments to address the problems in the Valley.
v. A Tourism team that promotes the use of the Baakens.
- Activities and events were also proposed.
i. A picnic in the park proposed by Reverend Zolile Dayamani with his congregation.
ii. Art classes for kids.
- A Forum for Champions of the Baakens Valley is to be constituted. This will meet twice yearly. Champions will share experiences of activities and information, develop further learning, build communities and support ongoing activities and the working groups. We propose that the first Baakens Valley Champs Forum be held on 17 November 2011. DIARISE THE DATE!
- Social network media. A facebook group Baakens Valley Community Partnership is to be established by Ryan Allan of the Transition Network. Here we can share ideas, discussions, photos and opportunities with a wider audience.
(You can find the above mentioned Facebook page at the following web address
Our aim is, with you, to promote the Baakens Valley as a community resource for all residents of the City. We want the valley to be utilised by its residents. It is up to us as residents to revitalise the Valley. The more we make use of it and care for it, the more it becomes attractive to others.
Baakens Valley for all, for nature, forever!
NMBM Site Manager
On behalf of the Baakens Valley Partnership