News update: The Kenton Sand Dune and the long-term health of the Bushmans River Estuary

May 24, 2022

To our generous donors, property owners, ratepayers, residents, friends of Kenton-on-Sea and Bushman’s River, visitors to our wonderful seaside paradise and all other interested parties regarding:

THE KENTON SAND DUNE AND THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OF THE BUSHMANS RIVER ESTUARY

Following the appeal for community funding issued by Estuary Care (click here to view), Kenton Ratepayers Association, Bushman’s River Mouth Ratepayers Association, Chamber of Business, Nature’s Landing and Merryhill Property Owners’ Association at the end of March and the start of our petition at the beginning of April (click here to view), the aim of which was to create greater community awareness around the ongoing sand accumulation challenges on the east bank of the Bushmans River and the KSDNA’s self-serving sand dune project, we would like to update you on where we are today and highlight some recent positive developments.

The petition has underlined the community’s growing objection to the KSDNA project and clearly refutes the KSDNA’s dubious claim that they are acting on behalf of our community. We have logged over 1400 online and signed petitions and have received a host of emails from residents, visitors and friends of Kenton and Bushmans River objecting to the project and pledging ongoing support for our efforts to provide a sustainable solution supported by the community and which doesn’t provide any long-term threat to the Bushmans Estuary. This is in stark contrast to the few Lands End Road homeowners who make up the KSDNA and who continue to push their self-serving project plan while very clearly ignoring the rapidly growing concerns and input of the community.

Our appeal for funding by the community received wonderful support too, and has enabled us to engage with professionals to provide independent and further properly researched opinions and recommendations as we look to address this challenge.

Marine & Estuarine Research (MER) is a leader in long-term biomonitoring and research in the coastal zone (terrestrial and aquatic habitats) along the whole of the east African seaboard. They specialise in coastal ecological assessments, water related studies including wastewater discharge and management, and ecological risk management and we are excited to be working together with them in researching and developing a solution which will preserve the natural beauty of our surroundings.

Initial indications are that many of our concerns around the KSDNA project are indeed justified and we will continue to work together with all interested and willing parties in our community to find a sustainable and supported solution.

Perhaps not surprisingly, our request for community funding has not been well received by the KSDNA who continue to push their selfish plan while very clearly ignoring the rapidly growing concerns and proactive input of the community. The correspondence received from the KSDNA members subsequent to our funding appeal completely ignores the community concerns raised and once again indicates their determination to proceed with their own plan regardless of these concerns.

Furthermore, KSDNA’s constant sidestepping of the real issues and flagrant disregard of the facts show a distinct lack of respect for the community as a whole and for those persons who represent the members of those community organisations.

This has left us with no alternative but to engage the services of a leading environmental law specialist who will guide and advise us as we continue to work together with the greater Kenton and Bushmans communities and the Ndlambe Municipality to achieve a solution supported by all and one which places no undue pressure or long term obligations on the Municipality or its ratepayers.

Representatives of the six community organisations continue to engage proactively with the community. An initial meeting last week clearly demonstrates that the community is committed to working with the Action Group and is providing a number of constructive suggestions and recommendations. Further meetings are planned in the upcoming weeks and we also look forward to including members of the community in our deliberations with MER. We will also engage with a larger community forum once our professional team have completed their studies.

We would like to thank all of our donors most sincerely, your contributions are greatly appreciated, will be carefully managed and will be put to good use. What is becoming increasingly obvious, however, is the need for more short and long term funding. The KSDNA has made it repeatedly clear that their funding is dependent on their project, and only their project being implemented in full and any contribution to an alternative, community supported solution, is therefore highly improbable. There will still be a lot of work required to secure approval for any community project and many hours of professional work will be needed to prepare the required project implementation plans.

It is also highly likely that private funding may be necessary to support the Ndlambe Municipality with eventual project implementation and ongoing remedial interventions. The sand will not lie still and will continue to arrive on the east bank of the Bushmans Estuary forever.

Yours sincerely
Stuart Clarkson
Chairman, Boesmans Kariega Estuary Care Management Forum

On behalf of the aligned Community Organisations:

Boesmans-Kariega Estuary Management Forum, Kenton on Sea Ratepayers Association, Bushman’s River Mouth Ratepayers Association, Kenton & Boesmans Chamber of Business & Tourism, Nature’s Landing, Merryhill Property Owners’ Association.

info@estuarycare.co.za
www.estuarycare.co.za

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