The Captain of the Ship

For many years now Captain Alan Smaldon has been guiding the ship Cowra through some turbulent waters. The Ethekwini  Council, just like the sea, is a master unto itself and just when you think that you are mastering it, the weather changes and so do all the rules. As the saying goes, anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm, the true sailor is the one that can sail the ship safely in turbulent waters.

Alan Smaldon has done exactly that. He has watched the rules change, the people change and Council change but he has kept Cowra focused on the objectives ensuring that service delivery is at least kept up and that the members are informed. A difficult task to say the least, as getting a response from the Council is like finding hens teeth. Not many people know how many emails and phone calls happen on a daily basis to try a resolve issues even when they are really simple ones.

Alan joined the Gillitts Ratepayers and Residents Association in 2001 after retiring from sea life which spanned some 44 years.  In 2003 he became Chairman until the ratepayers association of Gillitts and Kloof amalgamated but still remained a Committee member. In 2008 he became Chairman of COWRA.

Alan Smaldons final voyage as Captain is complete as he retired as Chairman of Cowra last month but will remain on the committee for a further six months to assist me while I learn the ropes. His years of service to the community was done for no remuneration only accepting that the area covered by Cowra namely Kloof, Gillitts, St. Helier, Everton, Forest Hills, Stockville and Winston Park, is better off now having had the Council respond to traffic enforcement, road markings / signage / pot holes and sidewalk repairs / electricity faults and arguing against many cases of commerce encroachment that affect each and every one of us. I would like to thank Alan for all he has done for the community and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

Of concern to the Cowra committee is the gradual reduction in membership over time. The R 70 per household per annum is really a nominal amount to fund the operations of Cowra. Membership does not seem to be an attraction for the younger generations although all people living in the area will be affected equally by decisions made by the Council. We handed out hundreds of pamphlets and membership application forms with a zero response so I am asking for suggestions on how we can increase the level of participation by the 10,000 possible members in our area. I look forward to your input as ratepayer organisations nationally have dwindled and I don’t think that is in any of our interests.


Dave Ferguson