Beach Access Forum

The management of uMhlatuze local municipality and the uThungulu District Municipality have picked up that beach access is a problem within the local and domestic tourism market, and are working on ways to address the issue.

This is good news for all those who would like to access our beaches along the KZN Coast line but find it too dangerous because of the long distance one walks from your vehicle.

This has lead to the formation of a forum to discuss these issues and make recomendations. The beach Access Forum held their second meeting on Monday 22 June 2009 in Richards bay.

The second meerting of the Beach access forum (BAF) was rather fruitfull from my perspective, as those present were all committed and willing to put an effort in to make this formum successful.

I attended this meeting as the CEO of Info4u CC and not as a representive or spokes person for the Association of Recreational Beach Users (ARBU), and the next meeting to be held on Monday 6 July will see a few more faces, including a spokes person for the Association of Recreational Beach users (ARBU)

This space has been idle for some time now, but I feel we will soon liven this up with the actions being taken by the delegates to the BAF (Beach Access Forum)

more comming soon !

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iSimangaliso wetland Park IMP

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority is busy with their IMP (integrated management Plan) review for 2009.

Part of this process is surposed to include meaningful public participation, and the open day held at Hluhluwe on Friday 23 January 2009 (23/01/09) was interesting, but does not qualify as meaningful public participation. This meaningful public participation is required according to the regulations associated with the world heritage act, act 49 of 1999, and the NEMA as well as other related legislation.

We arrived at the HluHluwe Protea Hotel expecting to attend a meeting but got a surprise as it was an open day with a show and tell team who were not as well rehearsed in all matters as they should have been. Unfortunately I got rather upset and lost the plot.

I was actualy so upset about some issues, and the lack of depth that the consultants showed that I began to shake. Fortunately I had some friends at this show, and they managed to calm me down, so that I could speak to some of the consultants and ask some questions which need to be addressed, without shouting and behaving like a lunatic.

The issue of tourism associated with the recreational beach users is not in their plan, and the fact that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) wish to extend the marine protected area, and apply new limitations on resource extraction methods needs to be evaluated properly to ensure that it does not have a huge negative impact on tourism, like the closure of the recreational use areas of the Elephant Coast did.

The studies done back in 2002 by the same consultants Acer Africa need to be revisited, and questions asked as to the wetlands Park Authority’s response to these reports, and their inclusion in the EIA (Environmntal Impact Assesment).

The IWPA IMP Consultants need to be invited to the Mtubatuba IDP and they need to describe and implement the methodology that will be used to integrate the Mtubatuba IDP and the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) IMP (integrated Management Plan) so that they (the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) may comply with the world heritage Act (Act 49 of 1999) in terms of chapter iv section 22 in its entireity.

The Association of recreational beach users will need to do a lot of negotiating and arrange a huge ammount of pressure on the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to ensure the law is followed, and that the economic losses associated with the absence of the recreational beach users from the Elephant Coast recreational use areas is considered.

The figures are huge, with at least 200 000 overnight visits to the park, and about 400 000 day visits being lost due to the closure of recreational use areas to motor vehicle access.

If you want to help us visit http://groups.google.com/group/arbu and register as a supporter. it is free and we will appreciate your moral support.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority IMP unavailable!

The fact that the IMP (integrated Management Plan) of the iSimangaliso wetland Park Authority (IWPA) is unavailable for public scrutiny was brought up at last weeks meeting of the Public representatives forum of Mtubatuba Local Municipality’s IDP (Integrated development Plan)

I personally requested that the forum take a resolution to request the Mtubatuba Municipality to request this IMP (Integrated Management Plan) be made available to the IDP so that we can align the Mtubatuba Municipality’s tourism strategy with that of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority.

This received strong support from all forum members and a resolution to request the plan from IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) was adopted.

The IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) is obliged to produce an IMP (Integrated Management Plan in terms of the world Heritage Act as per clauses 21 to 25.

Failure to have these plans available for public scrutiny is a criminal offense, and I will be pressing for charges to be laid against both the CEO of IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) and the Minister of DEAT (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) if these plans are not available at the next PRF (Public Representatives Forum) of the Mtubatuba IDP Review Process.

At the end of the day we want to know how the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) plans to mitigate the economic losses caused by the 4×4 ban, and what their future tourism strategy entails.

4X4 Ban and the Elephant Coast economy

The closure of all beaches along the South african Coast line to motor vehicle trafic has had some very nasty side effects, and caused many business along the entire South African Coastline to suffer incredible losses due to the absence of the recreational beach users from the local economies of coastal tourism destinations.

I will be writing about the Elephant Coast region, which is where I live and play, and others will be writing about their areas. I stopped writing about this problem, of lost economic opportunities caused by the 4X4 ban along the Elephant Coast of KZN South Africa  for a while due to political pressure, but have since come to realise that this was a smoke screen, and that these politiicians really had a loud voice, but were unable to really do to much harm to my personal well being.

Since our President, Thabo Mbehki was fired for allegedly not following party policy, I have come to realise that we can make this thing of lost jobs and other economic opportunities into an important political issue, and use it during the electioneering campain that will be coming up to force all political parties to assist in fixing the problem, or loose votes.

This will be a brave step, and require many people to actively participate in highlighting their personal losses, and businesses highlighting their business stats and difficulties that they have had when asking their local municipality and other large role players such as DEAT (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetand Park Authority) and Umkhanyakude District Municipality for assistance with the substantial economic losses incurred when domestic tourism along the Elephant Coast collapsed due to the knock on effects of the so called 4×4 ban, or the closure of our beaches to motor vehicle traffic in terms of the NEMA (National Environmental Management Plan) and subsequent legislation.

I will be using this platform to launch an association called the Association of Recreational beach users, which will eventually become a NON profit based organistaion looking after the interests of all recreational beach users. I tried this before, but from a different perspective, and due to the lack of financial assistance failed miserably.

Many people know that I am passionate about opposing the 4×4 Ban and that I want this legislation looked at and revised to make it more people friendly and less restrictive on our local tourism industry.  A large number of these people still want access to the Coastal recreational resources along the Elephant Coast, and in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, with many asking me what’s going on, as I talk about this issue excessively, and they feel I am an AUTHORITY on the 4×4 ban.

This Blog will be used as base from which many other activities will be launched, in conjunction with many other online promotional and social networking structures.  I will be linking to previous writings and placing my correspondence with others  online at various locations. I will  be soliciting help from every conceivable corner then a few others as well, to ensure that the 4×4 ban, or the closure of our coastal recreational beach use areas to motor vehicle traffic gets the political attention that it needs to fix our very serious economic crisis caused bt the absence of the domestic tourist to the many Elephant Coast tourism destinations inclusing but not limited to

  • Lake St. Lucia
  • St. Lucia Estuary
  • Cape Vidal
  • Mapelane
  • Sodwana Bay
  • Cape St. Lucia Light house
  • Richards bay Beaches

Please book mark this space and come back within a week mor 2 and see my progress.

If you have any ideas on how to go about this public awareness and political campain please write a comment, and we will try to use your idea in our thinking.

Do not be afraid!!!!!!!

voice your opinion and help us to solve this social problem, that has cost the Elephant Coast BILLIONS OF RANDS IN LOST TOURISM INCOME.