Pro­posal for East Beach park­ing lot draws huge reader re­sponse

Talk of the Town - - News -

TALK of the Town’s lat­est ques­tion to Face­book read­ers ask­ing for their thoughts on a pro­posal to re­move dunes and dune veg­e­ta­tion at East Beach to cre­ate a large park­ing lot drew an in­cred­i­ble re­sponse, with more com­ments than on any other ques­tion we have posted.

The pro­posal arose in a meet­ing of the Ward 10 com­mit­tee for sport and recre­ation, with the mo­ti­va­tion be­ing that the cur­rent two park­ing lots at the beach were too small and open­ing up the area be­tween them to cre­ate a larger park­ing lot would al­low for bet­ter ac­cess to the beach dur­ing peak sea­son and spe­cial events.

Gareth Mitchell opened the di­a­logue, say­ing: “Ter­ri­ble idea. The nat­u­ral beauty is what makes East Beach so spe­cial. Much bet­ter idea to knock down one or two of those sel­dom oc­cu­pied houses on the Ma­rina for more park­ing space.”

Adele Fi­vaz Steck asked: “Was an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact study done?” Her con­cern was echoed by Terri Elkonin Har­rewyn.

Nigel Al­fred Jopson com­mented, “But they can’t even main­tain the park­ing lot by the dunes prop­erly! Cov­ered with sand and pool of stag­nant wa­ter there last week­end.”

Linda-Marie Pien­aar lamented: “All the nat­u­ral beauty that at­tracted us to Port Al­fred is sys­tem­at­i­cally be­ing de­stroyed. Will we en­joy the view of a park­ing lot more than nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion? And will we not just be cre­at­ing an­other area to be po­liced and trashed dur­ing peak sea­son?”

Some mem­bers of the com­mu­nity are more will­ing to en­ter­tain the thought than oth­ers, with

Mar­i­anne Ver­schoor feel­ing that if some­thing like that were to be done, other things could also be done to en­hance the area, such as a board­walk, look­out deck and re­build­ing and main­tain­ing the pub­lic toi­lets, which she said were in a dis­grace­ful con­di­tion. Ver­schoor’s views were sup­ported by Steck and

Jaco van Rens­berg, who was even more en­thu­si­as­tic about the park­ing idea, say­ing: “I think it is a great idea! Park­ing is an is­sue and it is keep­ing peo­ple from go­ing to the beach. A big­ger, safer park­ing lot will ben­e­fit all in the long run.”

Lizette Zeelie said: “I agree. We need more space at the beach. West Beach over­crowded in sea­son.” There were far more naysay­ers though.

Neil Play­don said: “If the cur­rent car parks can­not be main­tained through­out the year, then what is the point? The sand is never con­trolled and we are left with ¾ of the car park un­us­able. So much could be done with the ex­ist­ing car parks to up­grade them that I can’t see the point of this new idea.” Pete Du Toit called the idea “ghastly”, say­ing: “Plenty of space for park­ing down the road lead­ing to East Beach for any­one pre­pared to walk a few me­tres. It would never be main­tained and would serve no pur­pose what­so­ever for 11.5 months of a year. It would also de­stroy the beauty of the place.”

Justin Bowles said: “Don’t do it, but I am sure it will be done. It will spoil Port Al­fred’s ‘small feel’ and fur­ther im­pact neg­a­tively on the town’s char­ac­ter and the rea­son why peo­ple visit Port Al­fred and buy prop­erty there. Will look like King’s Beach in PE. The West Beach is al­ready a dump with a big park­ing lot, peo­ple drink­ing in their cars, play­ing loud mu­sic, break­ing glass, a gam­bling spot, a restau­rant in dire need of a clean-up and re­vamp. Then there’s Kelly’s Beach that also has a park­ing lot. How big a park­ing lot does the mu­nic­i­pal­ity want to cre­ate?”

Elaine Wigg Waters said: “Leave as is; no proper man­age­ment is ever main­tained no mat­ter what stupid idea sur­faces. Will have tons more sand blow­ing and you can’t con­trol mov­ing sand.”

Verona Velt­man feels it is “not a good idea to re­move dunes. Just cause fur­ther dam­age some­where else. The winds nat­u­rally de­posit the sand and the veg­e­ta­tion sta­bilises the dunes. Just not a sound pro­posal.” Char­maine Lees Steyn gave an adamant “NO!!! Leave the dunes alone, please”, while Michelle Strugnell chimed: “No, the dunes are stun­ning and even when we go there (in peak sea­son) we al­ways find park­ing. Would be a waste of money.” Lu­cille Parkins said: “No I think it’s a ter­ri­ble idea. Main­tain what is al­ready in place.”

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