Useful information and important notices for owners and residents
Access prohibited: Welgevonden Estate dam
16 March 2020
From 16 March 2020 access is prohibited to both sides of the full length of the Welgevonden dam wall, the dry land directly adjacent to and further away from the water in the dam, as well as the water itself (no swimming allowed), unless authorized in writing to do so.
This restriction is to ensure the safety of those on Welgevonden Estate while water is being pumped from the dam and while construction work is in progress, and will be in place until further notice.
Essential repairs to be made to the Welgevonden dam infrastructure
11 March 2020
The purpose of this communiqué is to:
inform owners and residents about an imminent project to maintain and repair the Welgevonden dam and related pipeline infrastructure;
provide an outline of the project itself; and to
give an overview of the envisioned upgrade of the dam area upon completion of the project.
The current situation
As owners of the dam, the Welgevonden Homeowners’ Association (WHOA) is by law responsible for the maintenance, repair and safety of the dam and related infrastructure. As such the WHOA is by statute compelled to have dam safety evaluations done every five years by an Approved Professional Person (APP) and to submit these Dam Safety Inspection Reports to the Department of Water and Sanitation. During the most recent dam safety evaluation it was found that the outlet gate valve on the dam was no longer in a good condition, and that it has to be replaced soonest. Furthermore, the condition of the outlet pipe on the downstream side of the dam is causing a further safety concern that needs to be addressed.
How will this be rectified?
Excom has engaged in a tender process and subsequently appointed contractors to remedy the safety of the dam. The proposed work will cover the following:
Lowering the water level of the dam to a level that still allows for enough water in the basin to sustain aquatic life.
Constructing a coffer dam ± 1,5 m high around the pipe inlet to allow for the work to be done.
Repairing the outlet pipe, using the pipe sleeve-in method by inserting a HDPE pipe into the existing pipe and grout the gap between the two pipes.
Constructing a valve chamber at the toe of the dam (which will require excavation into the dam embankment due to space constraints).
Due to its urgency, work will start in March 2020, to be completed before the beginning of the rain season.
Sequence of events
On a practical level, this is what will now happen:
For safety reasons and to prevent unauthorized access, the dam area will be temporarily fenced off during the construction phase. This means that no recreational and other activities on or around the dam (including swimming and catch-and-release angling) will be possible or allowed during while the work is in progress.
As the water in the dam will be drained, the geese will be permanently relocated to a farm where the owner is keen to have them. In this regard we’ve made contact with the Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch to inform them about the relocation and to ask for their guidance in this regard. We have furthermore engaged with a person with specialized knowledge and experience on the relocation of birds who will be helping us to do so in the correct manner.
The water in the dam will be drained to an acceptable level to allow for the construction of a temporary coffer dam to gain access to the section of the dam where the work has to be done. Here is more detail:
A diesel pump will be placed on the far end of the dam wall near the dam’s outlet (close to the R44) for the water to be pumped into the natural water drainage system.
Depending on noise levels, the pump will only be running during day time and will be moved to the water side of the dam wall as lowering of the water level progresses to limit the noise towards the residential side. (Using an electrical pump was considered. However, the fact that three-phase power supply is not available on the estate, ruled this option out.)
Pumping should start around 12-13 March 2020 and is estimated to continue for around 14 days. Other construction work on the dam wall in the vicinity of the top end of Fynbos Street will also start in due course.
Ways to use the pumped water for irrigation purposes on the estate were considered. However, the lack of infrastructure to do so, together with the urgency to start lowering the water level, will not make this possible.
What happens afterwards?
During a recent survey Welgevonden Estate owners and residents were asked to indicate their priorities for shaping the estate’s future. Upgrading the dam area into a recreational space came out high on the list. Following this, Excom has already obtained broad proposals from a number of landscape architects and is set to take the project further and create a master upgrade plan. This plan, to be set out in phases and which will be presented to the WHOA members, will include, amongst others, the following:
Putting up an aesthetically pleasing boundary fence to comply with safety regulations that deal with access by individuals to facilities such as swimming pools and dams in urban areas. (Note: This is not a new project, but something that had been covered during the 2019 AGM, and which was subsequently duly communicated.)
Planting of trees and cultivating of suitable water plants to create a natural eco system that will contribute towards improving the quality of the water, also luring insect and natural bird life into the area.
Creating picnic, seating and general leisure areas that cater for different leisure needs.
Right now, ensuring the safety of the dam and its infrastructure is of utmost importance. Measures are therefore being put into place to address the current concerns and the project will be carried out to have as little possible disruption and effect on residents and the environment.
Owners and residents are welcome to send questions or input via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feedback on this will be given in a consolidated format via regular updates as the project goes forward.
Flying of drones not allowed
31 January 2020
The operating or flying of drones on and above Welgevonden Estate is prohibited. This is in accordance with Rule 22.4 of the Welgevonden Estate Rules which reads as follows:
No remotely piloted aircraft systems (or drones), as regulated by Part 101 of the South African Civil Aviation Regulations, is allowed to be operated within and surrounding the Estate.
Transgression may lead to a fine of R500.
Civil aviation regulations prohibit, amongst others, the following:
The flying of a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) directly overhead any person or group of people, or within a lateral distance of 50 metres from any person, structure or building.
An RPA may not be flown into any property without the permission of the property owner.
More information available on The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) website: http://bit.ly/38RFlWK.
Estate security and short-term rental
17 May 2019
The security of Welgevonden Estate is one of the executive committee's foremost priorities.
While we remain vigilant, we pause to acknowledge that, due to the stellar efforts of our estate manager, our security contractors and members of the executive committee, we enjoy perhaps one of the safest living environments available in the area and beyond, boasting a remarkable record.
The executive committee has, however, recently noted a sudden, alarming spike in the prevalence of short-term letting (i.e. Airbnb-type rentals) and complaints made against owners who engage in this practice.
Stellenbosch Municipality classifies short-term letting as a business in terms of the zoning applicable to Welgevonden Estate and in fact prohibits the short-term letting of an entire property with such zoning in the Stellenbosch municipal area.
The Welgevonden Homeowners’ (WHOA) constitution provides that anyone wanting to operate any type of business in the estate – short-term rental or otherwise – must first seek the approval of the executive committee. At present, the estate has no record of a single application for short-term letting having been received, nor approved.
Almost all security estates do not permit short-term letting for obvious reasons. Permitting complete strangers (and their guests) to frequent an estate exposes all of its residents to risk. This risk is imposed on the whole estate for the commercial benefit of a few owners, whom often do not even live on the estate.
Having properly considered the issue, the executive committee unanimously resolved that:
The position is confirmed that short-term letting constitutes a business, which requires prior approval;
Due to the unacceptable risk to the estate, the executive committee will not consider or approve any application for letting for a period of shorter than six (6) months; and
The estate manager is to act against unlawful short-term letting with effect from 1 July 2019.
Health and safety risks: Welgevonden dam
27 March 2019
Owners and residents will notice that new warning notices had been erected at the Welgevonden dam.
Based on the available facts, Excom maintains its earlier decision that swimming in or recreational activities on the dam is not advised. At the same time it acknowledges the fact that individual opinions might differ and accepts that anyone who decides to swim in the dam, or use it for recreational purposes, do so entirely at their own risk.
Excom will not entertain any claims that may arise as result of such actions.