9th May 2013: Going Forward

First snow on Horeb



The debate around the creation of a Clarens Chamber of Commerce continues apace: Wednesday 15 saw a meeting of about 25 citizens from ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ Clarens, at the Posthouse Restaurant, to take forward the concept of establishing a village Chamber.  Three advocates for action presented an outline of the proposed process and this sparked considerable discussion and input.   In summary, there was consensus that the village must confront the realities of an uncertain future, and be cognisant of the way other apparently successful towns have regressed, through complacency or civic disinterest. 
While there was no agreement on the subject of external links at this stage, there was overwhelming support for the concept that this initiative is about business, and therefore should involve all the village’s business interests.  It was agreed that the initiative must be inclusive and integrate all the commercial and business interests of upper and lower Clarens, as well as surrounding farming associations and tourist businesses.   A draft Statement of Intent will be developed and shared with everyone involved, to help identify issues of concern and priorities for action.
A key aspect of this process will be the identification of all the sectors involved, to ensure that every interest group is able to participate in shared decision-making.  By definition, this should facilitate improved communication and ensure that every business interest has access to information about major decisions effecting Clarens.  One example offered was the future of the village square and related parking issues.  It was also agreed that the primary objective should be to build a critical mass of membership and look forward to an elective process, leading to a small but effective Chamber Committee.  The Chamber, once established, will be judged on its achievements and so it is critical that these are seen to be objective and fair.  Most importantly, everyone attending the meeting agreed that this initiative is about putting Clarens first and protecting its long-term growth and prosperity.


Do we have a “‘parking problem’ in Clarens? And if so, what should be done about it. Louw van Biljon has been studying this “problem”and come to some very interesting conclusions.
To read more………...PRESS HERE.

FIRE !!!!!!! 

First snow and then fire on Mount Horeb.

Every few years the area around Clarens is threatened by serious wild fires. These fires are
extremely difficult to suppress due to factors such as the extremely poor road access to
many areas, and the mountainous terrain. To improve the chances of minimising the
damage and risk to life and property, the Clarens Fire Association have been making
strategic fire breaks in the area……..Read more 

Ornithological Notes

Well.  The two Black Eagles circling my house last week would like to express their thanks for the burning of firebreaks around the village.  In a smudged note dropped onto my porch, they confirm that the fires encouraged quite a lot of prey to disengage from the upper reaches and make a break for the valleys.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) they were intercepted by the warm attentions of the eagles and, not to put too fine a point on it, eaten.  Apparently, 49 rats, 153 field mice, 7 snakes, 9 Guinea fowl and 1 elderly baboon were devoured and the pair is now busily digesting in a dead gum tree.

Of more domestic interest, some of you may have noticed an Ibis convention in the village this last week.  Striding around the square, with some attitude, I might add, was a group of Southern Bald Ibis.  TheGeronticus calvus is a large, glossy blue-black bird found in open grassland or semi-desert in the mountains of southern  Africa.  It has an unfeathered red face and head (reminiscent of my old headmaster) and a long, decurved red bill (reminiscent of my old French teacher). …..  read more

Editorial Comment:
 Development 101

Two articles in this week’s Clarens News remind us that, as a community, we are on the cusp of making decisions that will affect the long-term growth and prosperity of our village.  At risk of offending fellow citizens who are wise in these matters, it is necessary to spell out a few basic facts about the choices facing us: development 101 as it were.
First, as any economist will tell you, staying as you are means going backwards.  For some, this is an attractive option.  But as residents of many small other Free State towns will tell you, going backwards spells disaster.  Try buying a cappuccino in Hobhouse[i], for example.
Second, whether we like it or not, we are primarily a tourist destination.  Most of the village’s business life is built around a two-day tourist week, and is more or less successful depending on feet through the door or bums in beds.  What we all have to come to terms with is the fact that everyone is going to be inconvenienced at some point for this greater good.  We have heard some criticism of the recent MTN Cycling weekend for example.  In fact, business boomed: beds were full, restaurants did a roaring trade and the shops have seldom been busier.  Yet some citizens were clearly put out because they couldn’t park in front of the bottle store or go to their favourite eatery.  The reality is that that weekend, and others like it, was a major injection into the economic life of the town – a step forward in the development cycle of this community.  Every Rand spent in Clarens, wherever it is spent, has a knock-on effect on every other citizen and business, however distant.  Pause for a moment and consider life without the events that enliven our collective village life; and picture life in Hobhouse.
The article on parking in Clarens and the fate of the village square pertains.  There have been suggestions about reducing the size of the square to accommodate increased parking and as a consequence local town-planner Louw van Biljon has undertaken a study to ascertain the viability of this option.  The short answer is that this is not a solution.  Instead, the village needs to establish parking off the square and accept the fact that crowding is a two-day phenomenon – linked to the two-day business peak of the village.  Actually, tourists don’t mind a short walk, a concept we would do well to accept and replicate.  The Clarens square is our unique selling point and enables us to host events and add to the economic growth of the village; we mess with it at our peril.
The second article on the possible establishment of a Clarens Chamber of Commerce also has relevance.  As a village we have reached a crossroads, to mix metaphors, and have to decide whether we want a prosperous future – and concurrent growth – or go the Hobhouse (or Dullstroom) route.  We must appreciate that the proposed Chamber is not a magic bullet but may be as close to a democratic guiding instrument as this village is ever going to get.  To put this in perspective, we need to understand what it is notintended to be It cannot, for example, be the creature of a few citizens who fervently believe they know best; it cannot be the granter of permissions or favours; and it cannot fly in the face of wider public opinion.  That’s how a democracy works.  Give it a chance; it may be the key to our progress and, indeed, survival.


[i] With apologies to the village fathers of Hobhouse


This weekend 

Clarens Country Market
Be sure to visit the Clarens Country Market on Saturday.
The Clarens Country Market is for local people to exhibit and sell local produce, arts and handicrafts. It is held in the front garden of the Bibliophile Bookshop in Church Street, between Van Zyl and Market Streets, every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, weather-permitting.
For more information or to book a stall, contact Debra 083 765 8901 or Megan 082 469 2072.


Live Music  

Its all happening at STREET CAFE:
Saturday evening (from 7.00 pm onwards) –  Slipstream
Sunday lunch (12h00 to 14h00) Denzel and Obie will be playing their usual entertaining blend of music.

Weekend Rugby Fixtures

Choose your venue to watch the festival of hard knocks, find yourself a drink and kick-back for the weekend.  If your romantic partner finds you, pretend it was all a mistake and plead alcoholic amnesia.  The schedule is as follows:

Hurricanes vs Chiefs Westpac Stadium, Wellington 09:35
Rebels vs Stormers AAMI Park, Melbourne 11:40
Force vs Sharks NIB Stadium, Perth 13:45
18/05: Crusaders vs Blues AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch 09:35
Waratahs vs Brumbies ANZ Stadium, Sydney 11:40
Bulls vs Highlanders Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 17:05
Cheetahs vs Reds Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 19:10


Other news

The Clarens community may or may not be aware that Katherine, our vet, has had surgery and will not be back at her consulting room until 24 June.  Please note though that he consulting room will be open during her absence, from Mondays to Fridays from 9-11am for over-the-counter and chronic medication sales, and also for the payment of accounts.
Should you have an emergency with your animals please contact Dr Piet Louw on 058-303-4612 or the Bethlehem Animal Hospital on 058-303-2274.

Business Opportunity

The Highlands Centre has 2 shops recently refurbished and available to rent. The old pharmacy and the the upstairs gallery are both situated in a prime area which sees a large number of feet passing on a constant basis.

The shop downstairs is double story, 62 square meters, this shop is also prime location being on the bottom floor. All operation costs are included, electricity is excluded but the shop comes with roughly 3 months free electricity that has already been loaded.
To find out more or arrange viewing, contact Candice on 0824909332 or Natascha on 0823337552

Coming Up

Cluny Animal Trust Golf day on May 31 at the Clarens Golf Club
We are looking for sponsors for the 18 holes. Sponsorship for each hole will be R1,000.00 per hole which allows you to advertise as you wish on the appropriate hole.We welcome any form of sponsorship either in cash or prizes.The competition will be a ‘four ball better ball’. The entrance is R1,200.00 for 4 players, which includes a light lunch at the half way and Prize giving dinner in the evening. If you would like to take part in our golf day or require any further information please contact the co-ordinators:JAN SANDER E MAIL ADDRESS; Jansander22@gmail.com  cell number 0782462553ROSE BAILEY EMAIL ADDRESS; jabailey@nashuaisp.co.za cell number 0828790161, fax No.0866747750

Fouriesburg Polar Bear Plunge  on 29th June  (2pm)
Meet at the Arpa Dam (at Arpa Adventure Farm S325 off the R711, 7km outside Fouriesburg
Swim 50m in the dam. Change – rooms available.  Bring your own blankets!
R100 perentrant (includes a T-shirt “first come first served”- and a boerewors roll.
Boerewors rolls, pancakes and cooldrinks for sale at the dam before, during and after the plunge!
Entra free to spectators!!!
In aid of Cluny Animal Trust.


July 11 – July 14
A ski slalom and giant slalom race 4 children , juniors, seniors and masters. For accomodation and details contact Stephan at Gone skiing 0861754669
Ski racing is a fun way to improve your skiing.

Bethlehem Kine

Find out what’s happening this week at http://www.facebook.com/BethlehemKines?fref=ts
RED DAWN   PG:13  93min – Action
A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers. DIRECTOR: Dan Bradley  Writers: Carl Ellsworth (screenplay), Jeremy Passmore (screenplay)STARS:  Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson 
SHOW TIMES: FRI,MON,WED: 11:00,17:30,20:00 SAT,TUE,THUR:14:30,17:30  SUN: 12:00,15:00
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER     PG:13  114min – Adventure/Fantasy
The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds.DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer  Writers: Darren Lemke (screenplay), Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay)  STARS: Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci     
SHOW TIMES:   FRI,MON,WED: 14:30,17:30,     SAT,TUE,THUR:11:00,17:30,20:00  SUN: 12:00
ZERO DARK THIRTY PG:R  157min – Drama/History/Thriller 
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011. DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow   Writers: Mark Boal  STARS: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Joel Edgerton         
SHOW TIMES:  FRI,MON,TUE,WED,THUR: 11:00,14:30,20:00   SUN: 15:00
And don’t forget their discount days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
To find out times, make bookings etc call the Kine on 0583034333

Quotes of the Week
Just in case you think you’re confused……….Press here


Video of the week

The incredible power of concentration.   

and because we loved the video last week so much ………………here it is again