The objects and issues which the Bergvliet-Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association are dealing with are similar to that of 1947 and since. 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.
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 despite strong opposition from the Association and the community.
Redevelopment of Park ‘n Shop
In 2007 the Association strongly opposed a proposal put forward by the owners of the shopping centre to purchase the parking area from the City Council to redevelop the shopping centre and the adjoining houses on Lister Way which they had purchased. It was 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 storey block of apartments with underground parking on Lister Way. The Association estimated that the daily parking demand would be approximately 3528 cars spread over 14 hours of daily operation at the Centre and that there would be a big influx of motor vehicles 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 present, 2011, this redevelopment proposal seems to have been put on hold but it has not been abandoned.
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 Co-ordinator. In 1989 there were 112 Blocks operating with 1600 members and growing. Crime reduced drastically. In Nov 2006 some residents and block co-ordinators wanted to organize patrols and 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.
When Woolworths applied for a licence in 2004 it was granted despite objections from the Association and community but the Association succeeded in the Liquor Board imposing restrictive conditions.
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.
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 awaiting approval.
Retirement of Ald Bronnie Harding:
In 1993, at a function in the MOTH Hall, the Bergvliet/Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association bestowed on Ald Bronnie Harding the Freedom of our Suburb in honour of her long and distinguished civic career. Ald Harding had been the Chairman of the Diep River Civic Association for 19 years and then a Cape Town City Councillor for 20 years serving Ward 12, into which this area fell.
The Association and the community have always resisted liquor licence applications in the area. 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 to collect donations to take the matter to court. Tables were set up at Park ‘n Shop; many volunteers arrived to work at the tables and write receipts. Donations and support poured in from both within and outside the area. Both of our City Councillors, Ald Bronnie Harding and Ald Gordon Oliver supported us. The Association called a public meeting on a Saturday morning when people gathered on Howard Drive and then marched around the Park ‘n Shop Shopping Centre chanting “No Bottle Store Here”, led by the Chairman, Dr Donald Craythorne. We were told the following week that the Police were watching the march and were considering arresting the Chairman. The residents continued to protest and formed themselves into groups to picket in the roads. An application was launched for a Review. As a result of the pressure and negative publicity, Rebel withdrew their application and life settled back to normal in the area. A very 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. Mr J F van Niekerk, who served on the Association’s Executive Committee in 1962, was the attorney for the Association.
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. Today, in 2011, it is recognized 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.
Roads & Traffic
As far back as 1978 the Association asked the City Council to provide an embayment at the Bergvliet High School. The matter was shelved due to a lack of funds. Many years later, the Association again asked for an embayment and a small section was provided for off-street parking. The Association was instrumental in the placement of the traffic lights at the corner of Ladies Mile Road and Childrens Way and the placement of stop streets along Edison Drive and other roads to interrupt speedsters.
In 1978 Anchusa was open to accept tenants.
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.
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.
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.
rgvliet 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.
Discussions took place to amalgamate the two Associations which did not materialize but in 1968 combined meetings were held until they amalgamated.
As required by Garden Cities the Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association was formed soon after occupation and the members were keen, energetic and diligent in their deliberations mainly in civic, social and sporting activities. A cricket club and tennis club were established. In 1957 Mr T Jones was the Chairman.
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 eventually Garden Cities provided accommodation in the Meadowridge Shopping Centre for a Library which the residents funded privately. In 1962 Mr J F van Niekerk was elected Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Association and in 1964 Mr van Niekerk was nominated as member of the Divisional Council for Constantia – the Committee gave him their wholehearted support and he was elected. Mr van Niekerk actively supported the Association for a library leading to the building of the Meadowridge Library which 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.
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. Today, in 2011, the problem of undesirable elements in the area around the bottle store still exists.
In 1953 there is a record that the Cape Town Municipality was attempting to incorporate Bergvliet but prevented by action from the Divisional Council on advice of the Bergvliet Civic Association.
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.
For many years annual garden competitions were held. The first garden competition was planned in 1949. In the 1950’s the Chairman, Mr Starke, suggested the planting of leguminous trees. For many years Mr Ken Gillard, our Star Environmentalist, encouraged residents to maintain their verges and organized Annual Garden Verge Competitions, the last of which was held in the Spring of 2004.
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, “Rhinhof” Swan Lane, Bergvliet when the following members were elected to serve on a Temporary Committee:
Messrs Bull (Temporary Chairman), Purchase, Walker, Rickard, Visser, Garish and Highland.
The first AGM of the Bergvliet Civic Association was held on 12 June 1947, also at the home of Mr and Mrs Kohlbach 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. At the time Bergvliet was under the control of the Cape Divisional Council. 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 as well as Special General meetings when necessary, to deal with various matters regarding the development of Bergvliet. The meetings were held in various homes in Bergvliet, the Caversham Tea Room and the Civic Hut.
The first annual subscription was 5/- (five shillings which is equal to 50c) per household. In July 1947 it was reported that the ambulance service was available for the Bergvliet residents and that the fee for the ambulance service was a maximum of 2/- (two shillings equal to 20c) per mile return.
The matters dealt with were beetle infestation of the newly built houses, Childrens play grounds, sportsfields, streets, street lighting, sidewalks or verges, rates increases, tariffs and problems relating to electricity and water supply, sewerage, liquor licences, traffic, speeding, etc. The Association was also looking into the provision of a library, crèches and a maternity hospital for Bergvliet.