With regard to the article in The Village NEWS of 1 May (Gas and smoke still a threat to Camphill School) we, as the Management Committee of the Sandbaai Hall, felt that a wrong impression might have been created that we left Camphill in the lurch at the end of April. The facts, however, are the following:

After the devastating fire at the beginning of the year, the children were temporarily hosted in the hall until the damage at the Camphill site could be assessed. When it was found in early February that the children could not go back to the premises, we agreed that they could use the hall for a couple of weeks, until Camphill School could decide on the way forward.

March came along and Camphill asked if they could stay on for a while longer. Again we agreed, with the understanding that on certain days the hall could not be used due to long-term bookings. We put on hold all the maintenance that we had planned for in these months, and also had to decline all other requests to use the hall in the time slots that Camphill occupied the hall.

By the end of March, we asked for more certainty in terms of the period they would still need the hall as we now desperately had to do some maintenance, which meant that the hall would not be available for a couple of days and we wanted to plan accordingly. Camphill, however, could not provide us with any clear direction, which we fully understood, and they asked if we could take it week by week, which we did.

By the middle of April, we were getting worried as we had not heard anything from Camphill and according to press reports, the situation was not improving at the Camphill premises. As we planned to redo the floor at the beginning of May and the election in May would also leave the hall occupied by the IEC for at least four days, we contacted Camphill to find out what was happening. We were told that the Principal was overseas and that we had to wait for her to come back as they did not know what was planned. We did not hear anything from her and therefore assumed that they would leave at the end of April.

We are more than willing to help Camphill, but obviously on condition that we accommodate people who have already booked the hall and that we can do the necessary cleaning and maintenance, for the benefit of all. We know that this is a difficult situation for them and accordingly we went out of our way to accommodate them. It must also be noted that we have charged them the bare minimum and that they used all our other facilities without extra charges.

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