Update from our Chairman

Jun 25, 2021

We begin the June 2021 newsletter with an important update from our Chairman, Stuart Clarkson.

Dear Estuary Care Members and Friends

In our last newsletter I reported on our ongoing efforts to secure a sustainable and low risk solution to the ongoing accretion of sand at the Westbourne Road turning circle and one that is acceptable to the Kenton-on-Sea community, particularly those residents in the immediate vicinity who will be impacted by any work done in the area. This has proven to be a thankless and frustrating task thanks to the intransigence of one local Lands End Road homeowner who stubbornly refuses to acknowledge our concerns, those of the Ratepayers Association or those of a great many Kenton residents and visitors and is vigorously and aggressively pursuing his own agenda.

The sand which has been allowed to accumulate at the turning circle over many years without any intervention by the local Council, poses a very real threat to the residential properties in the immediate area. Our efforts to find a solution focus on the removal of this sand in the least intrusive manner possible, while ensuring that there is no longer term threat to the Boesmans Estuary, which is already under considerable pressure due to increasing siltation. Any end solution will also require ongoing maintenance as sand will continue to accumulate in this area due to the prevailing westerly wind and other environmental factors.

However, Robert Rose’s own personally tailored proposal will see the sand mass bulldozed back against the prevailing westerly wind and to within 70 meters of the Boesmans Estuary. This 5-meter high artificially created sand dune will then be stabilised and planted with vegetation which will be irrigated with water from a borehole he plans to drill in the Joan Muirhead Nature Reserve, this in the midst of a devastating drought and in an area where a great many of our local residents have no access to running water. In addition, Mr. Rose will build a wood-chip road onto the beach along the side of the sand dune to allow vehicle access for ongoing maintenance purposes.

This will mean that the conservatively estimated 3000 cubic meters of sand that accumulate at the Westbourne Road turning circle annually will now accumulate next to the Estuary instead. Mr. Rose’s ongoing annual maintenance requirement will see these 3000 cubic meters of sand, which will weigh approximately 4588 metric tonnes, collected from the Estuary end of his sand dune by yellow diesel dump trucks, transported to a staging site on Westbourne Road and then trucked through town on our already badly decayed roads and then deposited onto Middle Beach. Not through Dry Bones Valley mind you, as has been suggested by many as the best route, this would clearly be too troublesome and too irritating for Mr. Rose.

Mr. Rose’s proposed plan of action will effectively seal off Dry Bones Valley which has been an effective headland bypass system for centuries and has facilitated the natural movement of sand through Dry Bones Valley and onto Middle Beach. While the effectiveness of this headland bypass system has decreased significantly over the years due to human intervention and the planting of vegetation in the valley it is still functional albeit to a lesser degree. Not only is the proposed plan of action designed to completely stop the movement of sand through the valley and past his house, it will also secure Mr. Rose an unspoiled view of the Boesmansrivier mouth from his sun deck.

In August 2020 Estuary Care appealed the Ndlambe Maintenance Management Plan which allows the Ndlambe Municipality to manage the effects of windblown sand along our coastline. In particular, we appealed Mr. Rose’s plan for which he maintains he has the full support of the Ndlambe Municipality.

Prior to the Appeal process being completed and following a series of meetings between the local Ndlambe Municipality, Kenton Ratepayers (KOSRA) and Estuary Care which Mr. Rose refused to attend, Estuary Care approached the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DEDEAT) with the support of the local Municipality and applied for and was granted an abeyance period of three months to enable all parties to come together to work out a solution acceptable to all. This three month period has just expired and we will now wait for DEDEAT to hopefully reengage with us.

During this period we have had a number of meetings with the Municipality and we have been able to share several ideas which we believe would be far more acceptable to our residents, far less intrusive in their implementation and unlike Mr. Rose’s proposal, will not change the look and feel of Kenton-on-Sea forever. Mr. Rose, however, has refused to participate in any discussions and has instead engaged the services of an attorney who is applying enormous pressure on the authorities to rule in his favour. He remains aloof and determined to implement his proposal without compromise. Recent concessions by Mr. Rose’s engineering team that the proposals tabled by Estuary Care and KOSRA are indeed workable options have not been acknowledged or accepted by Mr. Rose and it seems that we are set for a long and protracted legal battle.

I strongly urge all our Estuary Care members as well as all other residents of Kenton-on-Sea and Boesmansriviermond to fully acquaint yourselves with the details of the challenges we face and to contact us with your suggestions, your thoughts and your comments. We value your support.

Estuary Care remains committed to finding a suitable solution to the ongoing problem of sand accumulation at Westbourne Road and we will continue to work with all interested and engaged parties to achieve this.

Our river signage team has been active recently replacing broken channel markers, installing new river signage and ensuring the correct positioning of the submerged rock markers along both the Kariega and Boesmans Estuaries. The team does a great job repositioning, maintaining and repairing river signage and channel markers which allows for a safer and more comfortable ride for those using our estuaries, especially our visitors who aren’t familiar with the many twists and turns of the estuaries or the submerged obstacles along the way.

Estuary Care still receives no funding or financial support from Ndlambe Municipality despite the number of repair and maintenance projects we carry out on their behalf and we rely solely on the generous contributions from our members to make this happen. It was therefore a wonderful surprise and great privilege to receive a very generous donation from Allen Cunningham who runs the popular Goat Shed restaurant just outside Kenton-on-Sea. Allen recently hosted a talk by well known whale expert Lloyd Edwards, celebrating the imminent arrival of the whales off our coastline as they make their great breeding trek northwards and we were extremely grateful to be presented with a slice of the evening’s profits to top up our Estuary Care kitty. Many thanks for your wonderful generosity and kind hospitality Allen, your gesture is greatly appreciated and we will be sure to support you on your “Fresh Fish Fridays” going forward.

Recreational boat licences are due for renewal again on 1st July so to avoid the Christmas rush, COVID permitting of course, be sure to get your boat checked, certified and licenced early. Estuary Care supports safe boating and properly certified and licenced water craft.

I would like to thank you all for the support received over the past few months, thank you as well to my team who continue to look after our Estuaries, our beaches and our environment so tirelessly and with so much enthusiasm every day.

Stay safe, stay healthy and for goodness sakes stay behind those masks!

Best wishes

Stuart Clarkson
Chairman, Boesmans-Kariega  Estuary Care Management Forum

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