Len's lines

A message from the Chairman of the Hout Bay Residents’ & Ratepayers’ Association.

All is not what it seems in this Idyllic Valley

As I was considering what I would say in this last Hout and About for 2014, I came across this article which I felt I would like to share with you, as it synchronised with my thoughts - it appeared on the back page of The Good Weekend, Sunday Argus 30th November 2014 written by Tim Roston entitled, “The hike from Noordhoek to Chapman’s Peak provides a workout in nature”.

Here are some excerpts from this article: “Not only do you get an entirely different picture of things from an elevated view, but equally a new mental perspective. What might appear to be overwhelmingly significant from the ground becomes lost in the expanse of the world seen from above. It is one of the reasons I love to hike up the mountains; the walk provides much-needed exercise and the view allows for a re-evaluation of the way things really are, a readjustment of your psyche which frequently involves coming to terms with how remarkably insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.

This is a favourite hike. It is steep to be sure, but the path meanders along the ridgeline, providing superb vistas over Noordhoek to the South and Hout Bay to the North, the snaking route offering up constantly changing panorama. If the physical effort doesn’t take your breath away, the scenery certainly will.

Around another bend in the path and the most spectacular vision comes into view, the foaming wakes of the tourist boats heading out to Seal Island temporarily scarring the clear waters underneath the towering massif of The Sentinel. The scene was enhanced by the perspective that leaves the scar that is Chapman’s Peak Drive hidden from view.

So eventually, after more than an hour’s toil, I reached the apex of the climb. There is always a sense of victory in reaching the top of a hike. I don’t suppose it equates to standing on top of Mount Everest, but it is a minor victory all the same and provides some sense of accomplishment. After a few moments to admire the view and bathe in an entirely unreasonable glow of self-satisfaction it was time to head back down”.

After reading this article above, it reminded me how easily and quickly one can forget what in reality is going on in parts of Hout Bay, like Hughendon Estate. We are seduced by the natural beauty around us which makes it difficult to believe, if one does not experience it first-hand, what others have to endure on a daily basis.

Here is an e-mail I received which asks if our organisation is meant to keep an eye on the rights of rate paying people and states that clearly there is nobody taking responsibility for the money that is spent by rate payers every month here in this valley. It goes on to say: “we are talking about a lot of money here....where is it going? Would it be enough to staff the police station with people who are concerned about us (the rate payers) and to build the homes for the few people who have a right to reside next door in Imizamo Yethu and move the others to more suitable land elsewhere, with all the amenities such as schools and a hospital that they need? Health and safety are the two issues that need to be addressed first.... And then when we have a normal suburb, we won’t need the streetlights. Simple”.

We would like to believe that City Council and National Government officials and Politicians take heed what is actually happening here in this beautiful valley of Hout Bay – we can only bring these matters to their attention, and then it’s up to them as all is not what it seems in this Idyllic Valley

As this is the year-end Newsletter, I would like to thank my Executive Committee for their work during this year and wish you all a healthy, safe and happy festive season and a prosperous New Year ahead.