Fireworks out, booze in

Draft festive season plan for New Year weekend

NDLAMBE Municipality and SAPS will tackle the problem of illegal fireworks displays this festive season, but are taking a hands-off approach to public drinking.

This emerged in the latest festive season planning meeting last week, where the draft contingency plan was revealed, which covers the New Year weekend from December 30 to January 3.

Filling in for the absent council speaker, Vivian Maphaphu, community protection services deputy director Fanie Fouche said the draft plan still had to be adopted by council at its final meeting of the year on December 9.

The issue of fireworks being set off at Kenton-on-Sea and Bushman’s River at midnight on December 31 each year has been repeatedly raised by the SPCA because of the distress caused to animals, some of which get injured while fleeing the noise.

Nothing has been done about it till this year. Fouche said the only designated area for discharge of fireworks in Ndlambe was from the West Pier in Port Alfred, and no applications had been received.

There is no such designated area in Kenton and Bushman’s, “therefore discharge of fireworks is not allowed”, he said.

He asked community representatives present at the meeting to spread the word and said it was up to SAPS to enforce the law.

But on the annual problem of public drinking and trashing of the beaches and public areas, the municipality and SAPS are taking no stand and make no mention in the festive season plan of the provincial law prohibiting public drinking. The only “zero tolerance” will be for drinking and driving, reckless/ negligent driving and disorderly behaviour.

At a previous meeting, the community protection services directorate stated there was “nothing in the municipal bylaws which prohibits taking bottles or glass onto beaches”.

The municipality even said signage to the effect that drinking in public and glass bottles on beaches is not allowed was “non-compliant with the bylaws”.

The municipal bylaw compliance officer and compliance marshals will be deployed between the Krantz and Beach Road braai areas and West Beach car park, working two shifts from 6am to 2pm and 2pm to 10pm. But Fouche stressed they had no powers of arrest or even to issue fines.

There will be boat patrols by an environmental law officer and SAPS official to enforce river use bylaws on the Kowie, Kariega and Bushman’s rivers.

Two teams of beach marshals will be on duty over the entire New Year weekend at West Beach to educate beachgoers not to swim there, as it has dangerous rip currents.

Lifeguards will be stationed at Kelly’s Beach and Kariega Main Beach for the entire Blue Flag season from November 19 to May 1, and lifeguards will also be placed at the pilot Blue beaches at Boknes and Kleinemonde, as well as at East Beach in Port Alfred and Bushman’s River Beach.

Traffic marshals will also be on duty and SAPS will have members at access control points.

The access control points will be at the intersections of Muller Drive and West Beach Drive, Muller Drive and Oriole Road, Hirtzel and Beach roads, Muller Drive/ Wesley Hill/ Grand Street, Wesley Hill and Smith Street, Smith Street and Beach Road, Wesley Hill and Beach Road and at the entrance to the West Beach car park.

In the event of congestion at the traffic lights, there will be temporary access control there, and traffic en route to East London or Port Elizabeth will be redirected via Pascoe Crescent and Main Street.

In Kenton the only access control point is at the intersection of Eastbourne Road and Vasco da Gama Drive, and vehicles will be redirected when the parking fills up.

The Krantz will be the only designated camping/ overnight area from December 31 to January 1. There is no designated area for camping in Kenton and braaiing is only allowed at designated braai facilities.

Clean-up teams will be working over the entire period to pick up litter, and skip bins will be placed at certain areas.

One of the other concerns raised by community members is the number of port-a-loos hired for the period, as the existing ablutions cannot cope with thousands of people. Fouche said Tim Cockbain of the Port Alfred Residents and Ratepayers Association asked the municipality to get 145 port-a-loos, but Fouche said it was possible only to get 55.

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