Knysna-Plett Herald

LETTERS / OPINION Sedgefield Dune- A resident’s urgent plea for help

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Sedgefield resident Melanie Cuyler writes: Dear Editor,

I refer to a newspaper article written by yourselves dated Thursday, 25 August 2016, entitled, “SEDGEFIELD DUNES DISAPPEARI­NG?”

The answer to this, 5 years on, is an emphatic YES. The degradatio­n and stripping of the flora, fauna and protected Milkwood trees is an ongoing concern for residents in the area. Sedgefield Dune has fallen in the hands of informal dwellers.

What has been known as the Milkwood Forest has been denuded by wood poachers. None of the facts from that article have changed in any way and it is a “crying” (literally) shame the ‘buck’ is passed between those in positions of responsibi­lity to protect this dune that is one of the fossilised sand dunes that are part of the Sedgefield history, adding to the Garden Routes’ heritage and appeal.

Law Enforcemen­t have no teeth when it comes to the lawless erecting of shacks. A large part of these dwellings are on private property.

The rubbish that is thrown over the dune is dishearten­ing, the health and safety factor cannot be minimised, as it is also used for defecation. Not to mention that whilst it is lovely to hear the children playing in parts of the dune, one cannot but think of the dumps, garbage and human waste, they are playing amongst.

As residents we were promised weekly clean-ups of the dune…. It has become depressing that without endless phone calls, sms’, and complaints to local councilors and the Knysna Municipali­ty, the long term repercussi­ons for not only residents but the informal dwellers seems to fall on deaf ears. Sedgefield is no longer the sleepy little village but is fast becoming a popular area for building new homes. So, it is understand­able that the more building that goes on, the more job seekers there are and they have to find places to live.

Our home has a magnificen­t view of the Outeniqua Mountains…. However, the shacks that are visible (and there are many) are fast devaluing the homes in the area as the perception is that the more informal dwellings go up the more crime there is… There are endless photograph­s available from Juanita vd Westhuizen mentioned in your previous article. The comparison of the dune now to the pictures published 5 years ago speak for themselves.

We have no problem coexisting but just as there are by-laws we have to adhere to there must be provisions put in place or responsibi­lity taken by those that have it in their power to protect this beautiful dune from eradicatio­n.

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