Energy Summit

Kouga hosts Youth in Energy Summit

Young people from across Kouga will take part in the first Youth in Energy Summit at Cape St Francis this week.

The summit will take place at 9am on Wednesday, 28 June, at the Cape St Francis Resort. It is being presented jointly by Kouga Municipality, Eskom, the Kouga Wind Farm and New Generation Mindset (NGM).

Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said the event was open to all young and aspiring business people, as well as those who are already in business.

“The summit will be jam-packed with information relevant to young entrepreneurs who would like to tap into the opportunities that are opening up in Kouga thanks to energy-related developments,” she said.

The keynote speaker at the event will be East Cape MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Sakhumzi Somyo.

Two youth entrepreneurs will also share their success stories.

Other topics and role-players on the programme are:

  • Skills and Careers around Energy (Eskom)
  • Energy Mix Prospects and Opportunities (Necsa)
  • SMME support around energy (NGM)
  • Supporting Entrepreneurial Development (NYDA)
  • Wind Farm Development Plan and Youth Opportunities (Kouga Wind Farm)
  • SMME Funding (ECDC)
  • SMME Funding Support (IDC)
  • SMME mentorship and support (The Hope Factory)

For further information contact Zingi Mdidimba at the municipality’s LED unit on 083 571 7976 or 042 2002227.

energy summit

Egrets, herons, cormorants cause a stir

Egrets, Herons and Cormorants – problem and solution

A hostile up-roar ensued when egrets, herons and cormorants chose to breed in alien pine trees growing on the pavement in a residential area of St Francis Bay. The Kouga Municipality, Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, health officials, and nature lovers were all drawn into the affair (and certainly did not flock together in opinion) and the conflict had the potential to become a legal issue with huge costs involved.

On the one hand, the municipality was called in to remove the trees and a potential health hazard, and at the same time nature lovers insisted that the birds be allowed to breed once nest building had started. Such an up-roar ensued that the municipality halted the felling process and the birds continued with the breeding cycle.

What is not generally known is that birds in numbers such as this excrete an enormous amount of ammonia-smelling excrement which covers all ground in the vicinity, roofs, walls, fences, plants etc. Noise from chicks soliciting for food continues throughout the day and night; dead chicks fall to the ground attracting flies, lice etc. and the accompanying odour is appalling. This becomes a health hazard as it did in this case.

Matters came to a head when the health of the person concerned developed a respiratory problem and medical help was necessary and intervention called for. The municipality was recalled and the trees were thus felled.

The owner of the affected house, once the trees were removed, incurred enormous expense trying to rectify the physical mess that had been left, as well as her health which has not yet recovered. Her home had to be fumigated twice; excrement (several centimetres thick in some places) removed from walls, roofs, fences, and the ground below. A pressure hose had to be hired. All the ammonia impregnated soil had to be removed completely and new soil brought in to the area below the trees.

All this could have been avoided had timeous action been taken before the actual breeding cycle had started. Unfortunately the breeding had started and some chicks were rescued and taken to the local vet. The birds suffered trauma when the trees were felled and flew round frantically looking for their nests and chicks.

To avoid a repetition of this unfortunate occurrence on municipal or private property timeous steps should be taken to discourage the birds from breeding in a place that would cause conflict with human habitation. They might be driven off by noise when they first show a preference for a tree that is too close or perhaps branches that could be used for nesting purposes could be trimmed or the chosen tree might even have to be felled before nesting takes place if there is no other solution.

The problem is not an easy one but a lot of heartache could be avoided by doing the right thing in time.

Wildlife photographer, Carolyn Greathead, witnessed the distressing scene when the birds returned to their nests and chicks to find them gone, and filmed them flying or sitting around in confusion.

Birds causing health problem in St Francis

Some of the concerned birds settled on nearby bushes

Birds causing health hazard in St Francis Bay

Birds not understanding

Article by Yvonne Bosman – Photographs by Carolyn Greathead