Planning scores smooth festive for Kouga
The Kouga Municipality was well-geared as another bumper festive season beckoned, with multitudes of visitors coming to spend their holidays in the region’s popular tourist spots.
Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said the municipality had developed a festive preparedness plan and that daily Venue Operations Centre (VOC) meetings were held throughout the season, together with other stakeholders such as the police and the National Sea Rescue Institute, to continuously assess the situation and come up with solutions to emerging challenges.
“We are glad we took this approach as there was much better coordination of services for us to be able to meet the demand and make the holiday as pleasurable as possible for our residents and visitors alike,” she said.
“The feedback we have had from residents and visitors alike have been very positive. We are truly grateful to the stakeholders for their participation and guidance and we intend keeping this type of relationship going,” said Van Lingen.
The municipality had employed temporary additional staff in all their service departments to help cope with the demand.
Here are some of the highlights and challenges that were noted:
Basic Services – The recently-procured four refuse collection vehicles played a major role in ensuring that waste was collected on time, especially in the CBD areas where high volumes of waste are generated during peak season . The teams worked seven days a week and additional staff were taken from the bush clearing and grass cutting teams to assist with litter picking and other cleansing duties. Public facilities were cleaned on a regular basis, while grass had been cut at entrances at the start of the season.
Water and sanitation services were rendered with minimal hiccups, while the municipality intensified its water-saving message as the drought persisted. Low pressure challenges affected water supply to some high-lying areas, while water shedding had to be imposed on Hankey and Patensie due to scarcity of water.
There were no extended power interruptions during the season and the electrical department attended to complaints promptly.
Waterside Leisure – The lifeguards were on high alert, with more than 150 rescues conducted across all the beaches and the lagoon and all those rescued did not need further medical attention. There was a near-drowning rescue at Dolphin Beach where a 19-year-old male was resuscitated and admitted to hospital. Sadly, on 4 January, a 28-year-old local man drowned in St Francis Bay while swimming with friends at a beach where no lifeguards are deployed. The body of the man was recovered three days later, about 300 metres from where he drowned. Missing children were reunited with parents on the same day of separation.
Lifeguards also conducted treatments for a number of minor injuries from abrasions, heatstroke, dislocations and lacerations.
Fire services – The fire services responded to a number of fire calls and managed to deal with these without any extensive damage being caused. There was, however, an unfortunate incident of a death of a person when a shack burnt down in Ocean View. The firemen often had to help with accidents as well.