End of ga­bi­on pro­ject in Sed­ge

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - Ya­seen Gaf­far

The in­stal­la­ti­on of ga­bi­on ba­s­kets al­ong a 100m stretch on Myo­li Be­ach in Sed­ge­field, which be­gan on 14 March, has dra­wn the in­te­rest, sur­pri­se and dis­may of ma­ny re­si­dents and in­te­rested par­ties in the a­rea, ac­cor­ding to Su­san Camp­bell of the Knys­na Ra­te­pay­ers’ As­so­ci­a­ti­on.

“In my o­pi­ni­on, the mi­nis­ter was wrong,” says Camp­bell, re­fer­ring to a di­recti­ve from the Mi­nis­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, who is­su­ed an e­mer­gen­cy per­mit to al­low the con­structi­on of ga­bi­on ba­s­kets in the days pre­ce­ding the ar­ri­val of the ex­ca­va­tor.

“We un­der­stand that the­re was an is­sue re­la­ting to the hou­ses ne­ar the du­nes, but the de­ci­si­on that t­his was ur­gent – and that ga­bi­on struc­tu­res we­re the ans­wer – is sim­ply wrong. Re­si­dents strongly op­po­se the in­stal­la­ti­on of un­sig­ht­ly ga­bi­ons, the­re was no con­sul­ta­ti­on with re­si­dents in the gre­a­ter Sed­ge­field and Knys­na a­rea,” says Camp­bell. We are not hap­py said lo­cal aut­ho­ri­ties

“Re­si­dents in t­his a­rea would’ve pre­fer­red a ‘soft struc­tu­re’ on the be­ach, they could’ve u­sed sand­bags inste­ad,” she says, “li­ke they did at Buf­fa­lo Bay so­me y­e­ars ago. Re­si­dents we­re com­pel­led to use sand­bags – why not the sa­me for Sed­ge­field? We are not hap­py.”

Ac­cor­ding to SANParks re­gi­o­nal spo­kes­per­son Nan­di Mg­wad­lam­ba, they we­re a­gainst the in­stal­la­ti­on of t­he­se ga­bi­on struc­tu­res, and so was the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.

“It is for t­his re­a­son that we ap­pro­a­ched aut­ho­ri­ties to ha­ve the con­structi­on pau­sed. We we­re still look­ing at al­ter­na­ti­ves and we of­fe­red a dif­fe­rent view, and thus we we­re shoc­ked that the ac­tu­al con­structi­on star­ted wit­hout our ap­pro­val. We’ve al­so es­ca­la­ted the mat­ter with the Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, ” she says, ad­ding that in the co­ming weeks of­fi­ci­als from the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs (DEA), will ma­ke their own as­ses­sments of the a­rea to get a bet­ter i­dea of the chal­len­ges and ad­dress the mat­ter.

“We we­re em­pa­thi­sing with the con­cerns of re­si­dents and re­al­ly want to find a so­lu­ti­on, but as SANParks we al­so feel that ga­bi­on struc­tu­res are not the ans­wer. At pre­sent we are checking the in­for­ma­ti­on that was pre­sen­ted to the mi­nis­ter and con­sulting le­gal te­ams, be­cau­se the pro­per­ty o­w­ners are al­so u­sing la­wy­ers,” says Mg­wad­lam­ba.

Ac­cor­ding to SANParks’ kno­w­led­ge, she says, cer­tain per­mits we­re not obtai­ned, and thus the con­structi­on was pau­sed and can­not go a­he­ad.

“In the co­ming weeks and upon ar­ri­val of the of­fi­ci­als from DEA, the mat­ter will be ad­dres­sed and we will in­form re­si­dents of the way for­ward,” she says.

P­ho­to: Ya­seen Gaf­far

Be­a­chgoers and Sed­ge­field re­si­dents we­re sur­pri­sed to see an ex­ca­va­tor on Myo­li be­ach, w­he­re ga­bi­on ba­s­kets we­re in the pro­cess of being e­rected to sa­fe­guard ho­mes, be­fo­re the pro­ject was pau­sed to find al­ter­na­ti­ve so­lu­ti­ons.

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