‘Bylaws still not enforced’

2018-02-22 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Patrons parked illegally on private properties’ kerbs during the picnic.

PHOTO: supplied Patrons parked illegally on private properties’ kerbs during the picnic.

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WHILE the inaugural South Coast Beach picnic was lauded as a success by the municipality and its organisers, residents and business owners from the area are singing a different tune, arguing that the newly enacted municipal bylaws were not enforced during their first real test.

In a formal letter to Ray Nkonyeni Municipality (RNM), a disgruntled resident said that among the bylaws infringed during the event held in St Michaels on February 3, were regulations against public drinking, public urinating, littering and loud noise.

He also alleged that law enforcers on site paid no mind to these infringements.

“When we stopped a municipal patrol vehicle to point out how groups were standing around openly drinking and making excessive noise, we were told that they had been warned and the officers then proceeded to simply drive off,” said Johan van Aardt, who is also a business owner in the area.

He said that contrary to popular belief, business owners lost revenue due to the event. “In spite of Tourism’s assumptions of this being a tremendous boost for local businesses, I could not disagree more.

“At Mountjoy Guest Lodge we had only two people who checked in with us on the day in connection to the music conference, keeping in mind that we are only 150 m from St Mike’s beach and therefore a prime accommodation location for this event,” said Van Aardt.

“We had another two family bookings for a six-day period that were going to check in but they phoned from up the road and refused to continue past Oasis Pub as they were horrified by drunken people blocking the road and in fact stated that they felt unsafe in the area and decided to go elsewhere. So due to this event we actually lost revenue,” said Van Aardt.

He proposed that events of this nature be hosted in secluded areas which are not residential, making particular reference to the Ugu Sport and Leisure Centre.

RNM spokesperson Simon April said the event was approved and was held within the stipulated time frames.

“It should be understood that this was an approved event of which consumption of alcohol was permitted within the area in which the event was taking place, and surely since it was a musical event there was bound to be noise,” he said.

April added that the municipality still awaits a formal report on the economic impact of the event and therefore could not comment on whether it benefited local business or not.

“The other reason why one will, for now, not comment on that, is that the same argument is being raised by those who had ulterior motives against the event and didn’t want it to take place for their own subjective reasons,” said April.

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