A Coastal bylaw aimed at managing and protecting Cape Town coasts will be open for public comment at the beginning of August. The draft bylaw is also aimed at improving safety at beaches in the Cape Town.The Coastal Management Branch has drafted the proposed bylaw and it is founded on the principles of the Integrated Coastal Management Policy and Coastal Management Programme that were adopted by council in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and the National Environmental Management Integrated Coastal Management Act 36 of 2014 as amended. Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt says: “Cape Town is synonymous with rolling waves, rocky shores, dolphins, whales, and sunsets on pristine beaches. “Our coastline draws millions of tourists and local visitors every year; it is central to our identity, and gives us a sense of place and pride. “We also cannot overestimate the importance of the coast to our local economy. It is a public asset that must be preserved and protected for current and future generations. “The draft bylaw will assist us to better manage our coastline and enable law enforcement of activities that may have a damaging impact on the coastal environment.”It will be available for public comment from Thursday 1 August until Monday 2 September. The City will, during this time, also host eight public hearings across Cape Town where residents can ask questions, and comment. The draft bylaw will be applicable to the coastal zone, which is a public area that belongs to all South Africans. It covers the seashore, the coastal waters, and the environment on, in, under, and above the coastal zone.The proposed bylaw addresses the following in general terms: . Poaching or illegal fishing; . Harvesting, or removal of vegetation; . Removal of sand, pebbles, rocks, shells, and kelp; . Removal of or damage to indigenous coastal vegetation; . Littering; . Pollution and dumping; . Encroachment of private property into the coastal environment; . Measures to remove encroachments, and rehabilitate affected land; . Possession or consumption of liquor or drugs; . Hawking or doing business without authorisation; . Launching of vessels; . Issuing of fines for contraventions.“One of the most important aspects of the proposed bylaw is that it will give the City the legislative powers to enforce the public’s right to access and enjoy our beaches and sea. “Some residents are claiming the beaches or parcels of land in front of their properties as their own private areas by either extending their homes or gardens, sinking swimming pools, or building walkways with ‘no-access’ signs on it. Our coastline belongs to all South Africans, and the bylaw will be used to entrench this right,” says Nieuwoudt.