history of the ratepayers association in bergvliet and meadowridge

A Short History of the Bergvliet-Meadowridge Ratepayers Association

Bergvliet Civic Association

As a result of the threat to incorporate Bergvliet into the Cape Town Municipal area, a group of concerned Bergvliet residents held a meeting on 5 June 1947 at the home of Mr and Mrs Kohlbach in Swan Lane when members were elected to serve on a Temporary Committee.

The first AGM of the Bergvliet Civic Association was held on 12 June 1947 and attended by 62 residents.  A Constitution with the objects of promoting the interest of property owners, considering local government affairs to safeguard the interests of the residents of Bergvliet Estate and to put forward suggestions to the council concerned promoting better living, health and recreational facilities for the residents of  the Bergvliet Estate, was adopted and it was unanimously resolved to address a letter to the Administrator of the Cape protesting the possible incorporation of Bergvliet to the jurisdiction of the Cape Town Municipality.  The formation of the Civic Association took place during the time the first 100 houses were being built for ex-servicemen

Hereafter regular meetings were held to deal with various matters. The meetings were held in various homes in Bergvliet, the Caversham Tea Room and the Civic Hut.  The matters dealt with were, among others, beetle infestation of the newly built houses, play grounds, sports fields, streets, street lighting, pavements, verges, rates increases, tariffs and problems relating to electricity and water supply, sewerage, roads etc. The Association was also looking into the provision of a library, crèches and a maternity hospital for Bergvliet.

In 1955 the Association requested the services of a Library from the Divisional Council.  There were a lot of deliberations, particularly as finances were not readily available but Garden Cities provided accommodation in the Meadowridge Shopping Centre for a Library which the residents funded privately.  Eventually, Meadowridge Library was built and opened in 1970.

Meadowridge Civic Association

Garden Cities started building houses in Meadowridge in 1954 and the first residents took occupation in 1955.  The development was completed in 1969 with 600 houses.

As required by Garden Cities the Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association was formed soon after occupation.  A cricket club and tennis club were established.

In 1958 discussions took place to amalgamate the two Associations which did not materialize but in 1968 combined meetings were held until they amalgamated.

Bergvliet Local Areas Ratepayers Association

In September 1969 the two Associations amalgamated and adopted a Constitution under the name of the Bergvliet Local Areas Ratepayers Association with a membership of 25 members.  Mr I Wills was the first Chairman with Mr B Gripper as Vice Chairman.

Incorporation into the Cape Town Municipality

The area was incorporated into the Cape Town Municipality in September 1972 and Cllr Firth attended the Association’s meetings.  Because the area was part of Ward 12, the name was changed to Ward 12 Ratepayers Association.

Bergvliet-Meadowridge Ratepayers Association

In 1973 the name was again changed to The Bergvliet-Meadowridge Ratepayers Association (Incorporating Pekalmy, Tussendal, Kreupelbosch and Oakridge)

Since then the area of operation has been extended to include Morning Star and The Vines on the northern side of New Kendal Road as well as the section of Heathfield bounded by the Main Road, Roscommon Road, Railway Line and Mafeking Road.

Some examples of what the Association has been involved with over the years:

Garden Competitions:

The first garden competition was planned in 1949.  For many years Mr Ken Gillard encouraged residents to maintain their verges and organized Annual Garden Verge Competitions, the last of which was held in the spring of 2004.

Amenities:

In 1949 a sports committee was formed to establish a sports club.  Messrs Etherton, Jessop, Fudge and Allen were mainly responsible for bringing the Bergvliet Sports Club into being.  In 1951 the Association advanced a sum of money to the Club to assist with secretarial expenses.

Retirement Facilities:

In 1975 Garden Cities advised that they were prepared to sell the hotel site to erect an Old Age Home. The Association called a public meeting to discuss the possibility of building an old age home in Meadowridge after the original idea came from the Bergvliet Ladies Club, followed up by Councillor Bronnie Harding and the Thursday Friends, resulting in Bergridge Park being built.  The first project for an Old Age Home, mooted by the Bergvliet Ladies Club, resulted in the City Council building the Dreyersdal Park Cottages.

In 1978 Anchusa was open to accept tenants.

Crime Watch

For 18 years the Association ran a very successful Crime Watch.  In 1988, under the Chairmanship of Mr Brian Gripper, the Association tasked Mr Claude Seha to set up a Crime Watch organization.  It was a tremendous task.  With the help of the members of the Executive Committee the area was divided into Blocks, each with a Block Coordinator.  In 1989 there were 112 Blocks operating with 1600 members and growing.

In November 2006 some residents and block coordinators wanted to organise patrols.  To comply with Provincial legislation, the Crime Watch had to be separated from the Association so that a new, separate neighbourhood watch body could be formed with its own Constitution.

Die Oog

For many years the Association had been involved with maintenance and projects of Die Oog which is a natural spring built about 250 years ago to supply water to the Bergvliet Farm.  It is now recognised by the City Council as a bird sanctuary and nature reserve.  Mr Brian Gripper undertook many maintenance projects whilst he was Chairman of the Association and in 1992 formed the “Die Oog Project Committee”, under the auspices of the Association, during which time Mr Gripper donated and installed a self-closing dog proof gate.  Mr Gripper continued to keep an eye on Die Oog until 2008 when he retired from the Friends of Die Oog Committee as a life member.

Liquor Applications

The Association and the community have always resisted liquor licence applications in the area.

Bottle Store Licences:  In 1953 the Association, together with the Heathfield Ratepayers’ Association, opposed the relocation of a bottle store from the corner of Roscommon and Main Roads, to its present site on the Main Road, but were not successful.

In 1992 Rebel applied for a Wholesale Liquor Outlet from premises in the Meadowridge Shopping Centre on Howard Drive.  Despite strong opposition from the Association and community, the Liquor Board granted the licence without a Hearing.  The community was irate and the Association sprang into action culminating in the Association calling a public meeting on a Saturday morning when people gathered on Howard Drive and then marched around the Park ‘n Shop Shopping Centre led by the Chairman, Dr Donald Craythorne.  In the weeks that followed, the residents continued to protest and formed themselves into groups to picket in the roads.  An application was launched for a review but as a result of the pressure and negative publicity, Rebel withdrew their application.

An important development took place as a result of the protest.  Shell SA, were at the time applying to subdivide the shops from the garage and offered the Association a Deed of Servitude in favour of the Bergvliet/Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association that no part of the Meadowridge Shopping Centre would be used for the sale, storage or distribution of liquor or any business dealing in the sale of liquor, would be conducted on or from the property.

Grocers’ Wine Licences: Park ‘n Shop:  Checkers applied, unsuccessfully, in 1981 and 1997 for  a Grocers Wine Licence but succeeded in obtaining a licence in 2008 after Woolworths was granted one in 2004.

Restaurant Liquor Licences:  In most of the applications for restaurant liquor licences in its area, the Association has been successful in having conditions written into the licences.

Planning

Local Structure Plan:

In 2002 the idea of applying for a Local Structure Plan was initiated by the Association, under the Chairmanship of Dr Donald Craythorne, who felt that it made sense to approach this matter in partnership with the Diep River Civic Association.  A local structure plan is a policy plan approved by Council in terms of the Land Use Planning Ordinance, and is a useful planning tool for the Council when assessing applications.  It provides a guide to property owners with a clear vision of what the City Council is committed to within the area and what may and may not be acceptable in terms of land use and development.  This Plan was submitted to Council in 2006 and is still awaiting approval.

Redevelopment of Park ‘n Shop

In 2007 the Association strongly opposed the redevelopment of the Park ‘n Shop shopping centre and the adjoining houses on Lister Way which were also purchased.  The developers proposed to build a two-floor underground parking garage for 1200 cars, two floors for 75 Line shops, two floors for offices above the shops in two wings and a three story block of apartments with underground parking on Lister Way.  The Association estimated that there would be a huge influx of motor vehicles for up to 14 hours a day along Heerengracht Road, Bergvliet Road, Firgrove Way, Newton Drive, Howard Drive and Owen Drive; plus taxis and large delivery vehicles servicing the shopping centre at all hours.  This redevelopment proposal seems to have been put on hold but it has not been abandoned.

THE PRESENT

The Association continues to work to maintain the standards and values of the area set by the first residents and Executive Committees of the two Associations.

CHAIRPERSONS OF THE BERGVLIET CIVIC ASSOCIATION AND THE BERGVLIET-MEADOWRIDGE RATEPAYERS’ ASSOCIATION

1947 -1948    R F BULL

1949 -1950    W A VISSER

1951 -1954    C G STARKE

1955 – 1995   C F MORKEL

1956 – 1958   DR H FREUND

1959 – 1961    J O SLINGSBY

1962 – 1967    R WILLIAMS

1968 – 1969    MRS J LEWIS

1970 – 1970    I WILLS

1971 – 1972    C E ACTON

1973 – 1973    L VERMEULEN

1974 – 1975    B K ROSS

1976 – 1977    G B RODGERS

1978 – 1980    B B GRIPPER

1981 – 1982    I N MCKENZIE

1983 – 1989    B B GRIPPER

1990 – 1991    C SEHA

1991 – 1991    B B GRIPPER

1992 – 1997    DR D L CRAYTHORNE

1998 – 1998    PROF R CAMERON

1999 – 2010    DR D L CRAYTHORNE  (UP TO DATE OF DEATH 2 JUNE)

2010 – 2010    MR N L POSTINGS

2011 – 2018    MR M T SCHÄFER