New plan to address controversial causeway

2017-09-07 06:01

KOUGA Municipality has rolled out a new plan to address the controversy around the causeway between Paradise Beach and Aston Bay at Jeffreys Bay.

  • Tch.

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said the municipality had an urgent meeting last week with stakeholders, including the Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Roads and Public Works, to identify short, medium and long-term solutions to the problem.

The meeting was called after heavy rains and stormy seas increased the water levels of the Seekoei estuary to such an extent that the causeway became submerged.

“There is an alternative gravel road, but it tends to become slushy and slippery when it rains. This means that many Paradise Beach residents are, in effect, cut off from the rest of the world when the causeway is submerged,” Mayor Van Lingen said.

She said breaching the estuary mouth artificially to lower the water levels was not an option. “The law does not allow for it because breaching the mouth artificially could actually increase the risk of properties along the embankments flooding,” she explained.

“It was, therefore, agreed that the best alternative would be to pump water from the estuary. Our aim is to drop the water level by 15cm to 20cm.

“We are also looking at ways, including floats and velocity breakers, to minimise the chop of the water and limit the amount of spray that washes over the causeway surface,” she added.

She said the municipality had earlier this year entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Nelson Mandela University for the drawing up of an Estuarine Management Plan that will enable Council to make an informed decision about a permanent, long-term solution.

“The research team will be having public meetings towards the end of September and we expect the plan to be finalised by March 2018. The information the team has collected to date has been invaluable in helping us to identify possible solutions.”

She said a serious point of concern that had been raised by Prof. Tris Wooldridge, of the research team, was that little to no fresh water was flowing into the estuary because of the many irrigation dams in the Seekoei and Swart Rivers.

“In the long-term we need to restore the natural balance of the estuary so as to mitigate the flood risk to properties and infrastructure in the vicinity. In order to achieve this, fresh water needs to flow into the system.

“Not all of the dams in the Seekoei and Swart Rivers are legal. The Department of Water and Sanitation has undertaken to address this as a matter of urgency so that illegal dams can be removed and the fresh water flow restored,” she said.

“There are also fresh-water ponds in Paradise Beach that we suspect used to flow into the system and we are looking at ways to link these ponds’ back up to the estuary.”

She said the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works, under whose jurisdiction the alternative gravel road falls, had undertaken to ensure that this road is properly maintained.

“To tar this section would cost R80-million or more and the Department is frank about the fact that they do not have funding at this stage. We will, however, ensure that the tarring of the road is on our Integrated Development Plan for future planning purposes.”

The Mayor thanked all roleplayers, including Paradise Beach residents, for rallying together in a time of crisis.

“There’s a lot of hard work that lies ahead but we are pleased that we are now in a position to take action in the interest of our communities,” she said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.