Residents breach river mouth

2015-04-30 17:26
Some 80 disgruntled Paradise Beach residents armed with shovels turned out to start digging up the mouth of the Seekoei River on Tuesday
                               Photo:
JOHN WIEHAHN

Some 80 disgruntled Paradise Beach residents armed with shovels turned out to start digging up the mouth of the Seekoei River on Tuesday Photo: JOHN WIEHAHN

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SOME 80 fed-up Paradise Beach residents armed with shovels turned out to start digging up the mouth of the Seekoei River on Tuesday, in protest against what they say is Kouga Municipality inaction.

Water levels have risen significantly in recent weeks, flooding the controversial causeway linking Paradise Beach and Aston Bay, making the causeway not only dangerous to use but also near impassable.

This follows only weeks after the causeway had been closed for over two months for much-needed repairs.

According to John Wiehahn, chairperson of the Paradise Beach Neighbourhood Watch, determined residents - mostly elderly - left their homes at approximately 08:00 to open the mouth that has been the cause of endless problems the last three years.

“After a hell of an effort they dug a trench of 42m long, 1.5m wide and 1.5m deep. This was accomplished within 90 minutes,” says Wiehahn.

“Within the course of the day the sheer force of the vast volume of water released into the sea, expanded the channel dimension to 6m wide with a depth of 2m. Best of all though, the water level at the bridge dropped to well below the surface level of the bridge, once again allowing vehicles safe passage over the causeway.

According to Wiehahn, young and old stood together despite the risk of being arrested since this is an illegal activity.

“Even the owners of the local bottle store sent over sherry and cold drinks for the residents hard at work,” says Wiehahn.

According to municipal spokesperson, Laura-Leigh Randall, the breaching of the mouth was an illegal action and the local office of the Department of Environmental Affairs has apparently filed a complaint with the police.

“The municipality must first get permission from the Department of Environmental Affairs before we can open the mouth,” says Randall

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