Herewith a brief update on progress to date with submission and approval of the Betty’s Bay Beachfront Management Plan.
The Betty’s Bay Beachfront Management Plan, paid for by donors from the Betty’s Bay Dune Interest Group and the Betty’s Bay Ratepayers Association, has been submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) by the Overstrand Municipality (OSM) late last year. It was hoped that the plan would be approved by DEADP before the Christmas break, as they have been consulted during the generation of the plan.
Sadly this did not happen and DEADP has responded only by mid-February 2016 requesting changes to be made to the Plan. At a meeting held on 22 March and attended by the BB and PB Ratepayer Associations, the BB Dune Interest Group, OSM and Cape Nature it was explained that DEADP felt that some aspects of the Plan (construction of boardwalks) would have to trigger an Environmental Impact Assessment process and OSM had been requested to remove reference to boardwalks as this could always be added later after the required procedure had been followed.
DEADP also provided a template, previously used for maintenance of riverbanks, which they are comfortable with and which they would like to develop for use in other sand encroachment situations with BB and PB serving as a pilot project. The OSM has undertaken to make the changes to the Plan (at no further cost to the ratepayers), with emphasis on re-instating the parking area and the dune system to the conditions of ten years ago based on the “like for like” principle in the law, and to resubmit it to DEADP as Maintenance Management Plan. This first draft of the revised document is being circulated informally (also to DEADP) for comment before formal submission. It is hoped (no firm undertakings!) that the revised Plan would be approved by mid-April.
Unfortunately funding is now becoming even more problematic. The little money that the OSM has available for implementation has to be spend before their financial yearend or be lost and it seems unlikely that this the tender and contracting process will be possible in time. The funding by central Government for the Work for Coast job creation programme also seems to be in jeopardy due to promises made by Government to the #everythingmustfall movements and we are still waiting for confirmation on the actual funding available.
The OSM has approached the City of Cape Town to borrow one of their bulldozers to move sand during the winter months, but funding for the relocation and the fuel for the machine still needs to be secured. Funding from the central Government Municipal Infrastructure Fund is being investigated.
On the bright side is heartening to note that the OSM Department of Environmental Management and also Cape Nature is fully committed to, in partnership with the ratepayers, expedite this process.
Gottlieb van der Merwe Pr Eng
Specialty Group Manager - System Engineering
REUTECH Radar Systems
P O Box 686 | Stellenbosch 7599 | South Africa