Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA)

 

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SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (SEA)

 

box 56 agulhas 7287 south africa

  tel +27 (28) 435 6565 g fax +27 (86) 674 9522 g email cowperlewis@isat.co.za

 

 

What is SEA?

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA) has been operating at the southern tip of Africa for the past thirteen years.  Our Alliance consists of a small group of committed citizens concerned mainly with the health of the local and global natural environment.

         SEA, as the only environmental activist group in the Suidpunt, is relatively small in size; however, in spite of this, we are one of the few societies that ever get anything done.  This is because we minimise valuable time spent on committee meetings.  We simply don’t have time for interminable discussions, and the tedious admin work related to agendas, minutes and reports.  We apply ourselves to environmental issues as they crop up – the only prerequisite being that the majority of our core members agree with what has to be done – how, when, where, and by whom.

         We are non-profitmaking and we do not ask our supporters for any fees or financial contributions.  Neither do we receive any finance from any other source whatsoever.  Our love for and commitment to the natural environment makes it a privilege for us to finance this work entirely from our own pockets.

         Complete records, available to public scrutiny at any time, are kept of all our activities, and we have collected, to date, signed commitments from over one hundred and sixty-five (165) like-minded people.  These signatories have pledged unconditional support for our Alliance.

        

*     *     *     *     *

 

MISSION STATEMENT

 

We, the members of the Suidpunt Environmental Alliance, endeavour to:

 

v    Curb unsustainable development especially in wild and fragile environments

v    Promote sound environmental values

v    Serve as environmental watchdogs

v    Influence policy and decision-making

v    Endeavour to conserve and protect the fauna and flora of the Southern Cape Overberg

v    Activate to repair, maintain and uplift the environmental health of the planet in local, regional, national and global matters.

 

 

Our past work includes:

 

v    Being instrumental in the rejection of certain unsustainable developments in ecologically sensitive areas in the Southern Overberg (e.g. De Mond Estuary and Bird Sanctuary, Mount Pleasant, St Mungo Bay, Vywerbaai, etc.)

v    Being instrumental in the reduction of the previously unsustainable rate of development (+ 30% p.a. in the mid-nineties) – in the Cape Agulhas area – to a more sustainable level

v    Being instrumental in the motorised vehicle ban on beaches

v    Being instrumental in the non-renewal and cessation of permits to mine pebbles below and above the high-water mark along the Southern Overberg coast

v    Being instrumental in the preservation of coastal hummock dunes near Struisbaai

v    Being instrumental in setting up a local Municipal recycling programme

v    Persuading the Cape Agulhas Municipality to stop treating our tidal pools with toxic chemicals (chlorine, copper-sulphate and lime)

v    Persuading the Cape Agulhas Municipality to stop destroying fynbos and spring flowers on the Agulhas waterfront

v    Receiving permission from the National Minister of Transport for the erection of tortoise-warning signs on national and regional roads

v    Receiving permission from the Cape Agulhas Municipality for the beautification with indigenous plants and natural materials of the L’Agulhas waterfront

 

 

For further details contact:

 

Meg Cowper-Lewis

Director and Founder

Suidpunt Environmental Alliance

Box 56

AGULHAS

7287 South Africa

 

Ph: +27 (0)28 435 6565; Fx: +27 (0)86 674 9522; Sms/text: +27 (0)73 026 8800

gaia1@isat.co.za; www.southermost.co.za

 

or

 

Yvonne (Mosie) Hope

Director

Suidpunt Environmental Alliance

Box 108

AGULHAS

7287 South Africa

 

Ph/Fx: +27 (0)28 435 7888; Mobile: +27 (0)82 296 0144

mosie@isat.co.za

 

September 2012

 

Should you be wish to register as a supporter of our Alliance, please complete the form below and post, fax or email to the above.

Supporter Application

I/We, the undersigned, support the Suidpunt Environmental Alliance unconditionally in all their environmental work as it pertains to their Mission Statement above:


Full name: ….....................................................................…………………………………………..………………….

Address: …...................................................................……………………..………………………………………….

Phones: Home: ………...................................……. Work: …….....…….........................…………

Email: ……………….………….......................…….…. Fax: ……….......................................…......

Signature: …………....................……........……… Date: ….…………......................................…...

 

  

 

SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (SEA)

 

box 56 agulhas 7287 south africa

 

 

 

  tel +27 (0)28 435 6565 * fax +27 (0)86 674 9522  * mobile (sms/text only) +27 (0)73 026 8800

email cowperlewis@isat.co.za; www.southermost.co.za

 

 

7 October 2012

 

Shawn Johnston

Environmental Process Facilitator

Sustainable Futures ZA

 

Email: swjohnston@mweb.co.za

 

 

Dear Mr Johnston

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCESS:

PROPOSED DENHAMI WIND FARM NEAR STRUISBAAI

WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE (DEA Reference No. 12/12/20/2569

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA) supports green energy.  However, in spite of our positive policy towards green energy, we have serious reservations concerning the suitability of the proposed Denhami Wind Farm near Struisbaai.

 

We therefore wish to record our concerns as follows:

 

Proposed site

 

·         Agulhas National Park (ANP): The proposed site is in close proximity to Agulhas National Park. The wind turbines are visible from the hiking trails within the Park and from the top of the Sandberg

·         Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA).  The proposed site is in too close a proximity to the SMA – a conservation/tourism/agricultural enterprise.

 

Flora, fauna, avifauna

 

·         The proposed site is inappropriate in that it borders on a biodiversity hot spot and a World Heritage Site.

·         Bats have radar but get sucked into the vortex of the turbines

·         The proposed wind farm might not be in the path of migratory birds but resident birds will be at substantial risk with regard to the rotation of blades and resultant vortex created by movement of air.

 

Visual impact power lines

 

The power lines leading to the proposed site will be visible from Agulhas National Park rest camp and hiking trails

 

Wetlands and saltpans

 

Historically the area is a myriad of wetlands and saltpans.  Seasonal birds such as flamingos, pelicans, storks, raptors, etc., flock here in their hundreds of thousands each year.

 

The Agulhas National Park and the Nuwejaars Special Management Area (SMA) are currently restoring wetlands to encourage biodiversity and the protection of flora and fauna.

 

A development such as the proposed Denhami Wind Farm is inappropriate right in the middle of an area dotted with significant and sizeable wetlands and saltpans.

 

Noise pollution

 

We are concerned about the audible effect on the human and natural environment in and around the ANP and the (SMA) – such as the inland lake Soetendalsvlei, the historic farm Zoetendals Vallei, and accommodation facility, Jubilee Cottage.

 

Alternatives to wind turbines?

 

We would be interested to know whether other green energy options such as solar, wave action, etc., have been investigated.

 

Benefits to local people?

 

·         Financial: We presume that, since the electricity generated by the wind turbines will be fed back into the grid, local residents of these Southern Overberg towns will not benefit financially from the proposed development.

·         Job creation: Once the construction phase has been completed, we presume that job creation will be minimal.

 

RARE EARTH METALS/MINERALS

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA) feels that the mining of rare earth metals (mainly neodymium) for the magnets essential for the production of wind turbines might override the benefits of generating green energy from wind turbines.

 

The following articles from The Daily Mail website reads as follows:

“In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

By SIMON PARRY in China and ED DOUGLAS in Scotland. Created 26 January 2011.

This toxic lake poisons Chinese farmers, their children and their land. It is what's left behind after making the magnets for Britain's latest wind turbines... and, as a special Live investigation reveals, is merely one of a multitude of environmental sins committed in the name of our new green Jerusalem.

The lake of toxic waste at Baotou, China, which as been dumped by the rare earth processing plants in the background

The lake of toxic waste at Baotou, China, which has been dumped by the rare earth processing plants in the background.

On the outskirts of one of China’s most polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across an immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust. He remembers it as fields of wheat and corn.

Yan Man Jia Hong is a dedicated Communist. At 74, he still believes in his revolutionary heroes, but he despises the young local officials and entrepreneurs who have let this happen.

‘Chairman Mao was a hero and saved us,’ he says. ‘But these people only care about money. They have destroyed our lives.’

Vast fortunes are being amassed here in Inner Mongolia; the region has more than 90 per cent of the world’s legal reserves of rare earth metals, and specifically neodymium, the element needed to make the magnets in the most striking of green energy producers, wind turbines.”

….

 

“Live has uncovered the distinctly dirty truth about the process used to extract neodymium: it has an appalling environmental impact that raises serious questions over the credibility of so-called green technology.

The reality is that, as Britain flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled moors and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China. This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare-earths industry that the ‘green’ companies profiting from the demand for wind turbines would prefer you knew nothing about.

Hidden out of sight behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the city of Baotou, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five-mile wide ‘tailing’ lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China’s key waterways in jeopardy.

This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html#ixzz26YriMLYP

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA) wonders how clean “green” wind power actually is when considering the negative effects on the natural environment with regard to the mining of rare earth minerals such as neodymium.

 

Kindly acknowledge receipt of this objection.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

mso6D3A3

Meg Cowper-Lewis

Director and Founder: SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE

Representing 165 signatories who have pledged unconditional support for the Alliance

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

  

SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (SEA)

 box 56 agulhas 7287 south africa

  tel +27 (0)28 435 6565 * mobile (sms/text only) +27 (0)73 026 8800

email cowperlewis@isat.co.za; www.southermost.co.za

 

 

28 February 2014

 

Your reference: P281/15 (Collab:102127)

 

The Municipal Manager

Box 51

BREDASDORP

7280

 

 

Dear Sir

 

OBJECTION

 

AANSOEK OM WYSIGING VAN STEDELIKE GRENS:

GEDEELTE 15 VAN PLAAS 281, BREDASDORP LD

 

Although it is our constitutional right, as citizens of this country, to receive documents such as this in English, our request for a translation has been denied by the town planner.

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance finds itself, therefore, at a disadvantage to comment accurately on the above rezoning application with regard to the urban edge at Suiderstrand.

 

In spite of this inconvenience, we still wish to submit our comments with regard to the application for rezoning.

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance is opposed to any rezoning from agricultural land to residential and in fact any development on Portion 15 of Farm 281, Bredasdorp.  We feel that the land is too environmentally vulnerable and ecologically fragile for any type of development.

 

We are also concerned that any development on the property will be visible from hiking trails both inside and outside of the boundaries of the Agulhas National Park.

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance would also be extremely concerned should no recent Environmental Impact Assessment be undertaken.  This is imperative should any development on this land even be considered, since new regulations have been put in place with regard to any developments in the coastal zone. 

 

These new regulations include the 100-metre building restriction zone above the high-water mark.  Also of concern is that any development in this area will interfere with dune systems, historic Khoi middens and archaeological fish traps. Furthermore, the portion of land in question also has a fresh water spring that accounts for the sedge that grows in the intertidal zone. This is a congregational place for marine and other birds, some of which are endangered.  Opening up this type of environment to development can only impact negatively on this fragile area since, together with people come their dogs, cats and other domestic pets – many of which are detrimental to avi- and other fauna.

 

Should a decision be made to continue with the application, then we would need to insist that a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) be undertaken.  Our preferred consultant for this process would be Professor Matilda Burden, Cultural Historian at the University Museum, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602.

 

Professor Burden knows the area well and has undertaken impact studies for the Agulhas National Park in the past. These include the southern tip boardwalk and the new rest-camp chalets in the Agulhas National Park.  She has proved to be a knowledgeable, trustworthy and independent consultant.

 

Yours sincerely

 

mso6D3A3

 

 

Meg Cowper-Lewis

 

Director and Founder: SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE

Representing 168 signatories who have pledged unconditional support for the Alliance

 

Copy to Mr B Hayward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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