Hope this finds everyone in good health. Let’s hope for a great 2008 !

The good news is that the Hillside Dams lease has now been signed and we are initiating various developments. The old tearoom area is currently being repegged and we hope to start other projects soon. We would love to hear from those who have ideas and who may be able to assist.

The website has been uploaded. The work on this was kindly done by Lee Nesbitt and we cannot find the words to thank her for all the hard work that this has entailed – it has set a high standard that we will struggle to repeat on the other projects. It can be viewed at www.hillsidedams.com. Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated. If you have old pictures please do let us know.

The Hillside Dams area has been leased from the BCC by Mungrisdale Marketing (Pvt) Ltd. with the view of creating a restaurant. This is the commercial interest. HOWEVER the remaining 85.5 hectares have been ceded at no cost to the Hillside Dams Conservancy – a NON-PROFIT company with a broad range of experience. Their mandate is to ensure that the area is developed to served all members of the community. It must remain a prime recreational venue but one with added security and restoration of existing amenities as well as adding a number of suitable educational facilities.

It has to be stressed that the area has to be fenced and made secure – this is in the lease of the larger Hillside Dams area and we are considering how to achieve this. We have also taken on the responsibility for grass cutting, security, cleaning etc. All of this work will entail costs which will have to be recouped. This means that:

  • We charge a nominal entry fee for those who are in a position to pay - adult, child and car fees. This will only be implemented once the security is in place.
  • We will create a seasonal option where “Friends Cards” are issued.
  • We must also take into account the financial position of some residents. Reduced rates or free entry will be subject to individual application. We must not exclude anyone, most especially those who have supported the area for many years despite its problems.

Other issues that require a response include:

  • The issue of dogs off the leash. A difficult one but we must have rules for reasons of public liability. In fact all dogs are supposed to be on leash according to the existing BCC bylaws. We appreciate the desire for freedom on the part of some of our four-legged visitors but we must insist that they are controlled at all times – on or off the leash. Please take cognisance of other users. In the area around the tearoom ALL dogs should be on a leash and poop-scooping must be the order of the day. We do not want to be forced into taking any unpopular decisions and ask that dog owners don’t force the issue.
  • It is not intended to ban all fishing in the Upper Dam. However we will need to set aside some sections of the shore as fish and bird breeding zones. These locations will be marked and there will be no fishing. We will be getting professional advice on what, when and where.
  • For the time all boating remains barred.

The negatives aside we are now initiating several projects but these require us raising the necessary funds or seeking donations. It must be stressed that these are donations to the Hillside Dams Conservancy for the benefit of the community as a whole.

  1. to erect the security gates at the two main entrances
  2. to create a nice, but accessible area for wedding pictures (this could be a major earner for the Conservancy)
  3. To do an audit of the fishing.

    Rob Burrett
    Hillside Dams Conservancy