Aims: Please read the Objectives of NEAG in the Constitution for an overview of what we are about.
A little bit of history.
At the time of NEAG’s genesis (late 1992) Noordhoek was up in arms about the imminent opening of the Serina Kaolin Mine on Chapman’s Peak. At the same time there was also a huge alien plant clearing taking place at the De Goede Hoop Estate. This alien clearance started at sunrise and continued until sunset seven days a week and went on for months. Massimo Cecconi an Italian who was residing in Noordhoek at the time was incensed at the incessant whine of chainsaws and called a public meeting at the Red Herring. No minutes were taken but there were over 100 people there all pouring out their vitriol. Massimo put it very succinctly: “What’s wrong with aliens, I’m an alien myself”? There were few dissenting voices and a date for a meeting to pursue some line of action was agreed upon.
The follow-up meeting drew two Italians (Massimo and his wife Elvira) two Brits (Vic and Kim Breach) and a Seffrican (myself, Cecil Whiteman). We were very full of ourselves, so we gave ourselves a name that would make us sound important when we met with the managers of De Goede Hoop. Noordhoek Environment Awareness Group (NEAG) was the name we chose. The talks with the Wileys’ at De Goede Hoop went well, and although the alien clearance went on, the working hours per day and days per week were reduced. We upstarts also got our first lecture about the evils of alien plants.
Later, about 1995, we changed “Awareness” to “Action” because we’d come to realise that awareness and concern without action was sterile. Noordhoek is chock-a-block with “aware” people, but when it comes to “action” (much like a eunuch in a harem) they find it difficult to perform.
Save Chapman’s Peak Campaign: For the unenlightened, in the 1980’s through to the mid 1990’s a huge campaign was waged in Noordhoek to stop the mining of kaolin on Chapman’s Peak. The Save Chapman’s Peak Committee, with the late Lee Brownlee at the helm, and with the help of many other really committed people in the Noordhoek District Civic Association (NDCA) helped Noordhoek end-up with what the management of Serina call “the most environmentally friendly mine in the world”. I’m not sure about the veracity of this statement, not being too familiar with mines, but all that activism was well worth it, as many concessions were extracted from the Serina management, among which the establishment of the Mine Monitoring Committee, on which NEAG has a seat.
Alien Plant Clearance
Pre-NEAG, locals like Rory Sales and Rob Anderson (now executive members) took it upon themselves to clear the land behind the Red Herring of alien plants. Later and continuing clearing of this land was done under the auspices of NEAG.
The clearing of the area round the car park at the beach was done by us, as well as the cutting of the path on the left of the car park which was cut specifically as a dog path because of all the complaints we fielded, and still field, about dog poo on the main path and on beach.
The first Beach Cleanup I participated in was organized by a surfer called Lance (whose surname eludes me). All the participants shared some hooch which was made in a huge pot in the car park. When NEAG was formed soon after, we just continued where Lance left off sans the pot of hooch. Elizabeth Simpson, a German lady (I know, it’s a weird name for a German), was the long time driving force behind the Beach Cleanups. Cleanups are now organized on an ad-hoc basis, when volunteers are available to drive the project.
Urban Development/Land Use
By far the most vexed issue that any environment group or civic organization based in our type of semi-urban setting has to contend with, is the proliferation of buildings and the concomitant loss of habitat. From the outset there was no avoiding these issues as they are far more important than short term noise or dog poo irritations. Interacting and cooperating with like-minded groups and confronting rogue developers, Council and the various agencies of the Provincial Government. becomes par for the course as this will ultimately determine the legacy we will leave as an environment group, as a community, and as the inhabitants of what is still a unique place.
NEAG is always involved in any number of projects at any given time. Many of these projects are onerous and time consuming and executed over a long period of time.
:: NEAG has an AGM in February each year where all executive positions are vacated and a new executive is elected.
:: The Executive runs NEAG.
:: Executive meetings are held every 2nd Monday of the month.
:: Time of meetings: 19:30.
:: Venue: at an exco members home
:: Special General Meetings are held if contentious issues arise which needs full membership participation.
:: Executive members are expected to take on a Portfolio.
:: Non-Executive Members are encouraged to run with their pet projects which can be carried out under the auspices of NEAG and with the support of the Exec.
:: Specific Land Use issues are usually assigned to an individual but are discussed by the full Exec.
Our Noordhoeked T Shirts and caps are very popular (buy one and do it for the environment). They are available from Zimbabalooba at the Noordhoek Farm Village.