Closing the Grannies Pool slipway was not as one reader has suggested, a clandestine plot by the organisers of the SRA to extract money out of those not living on the canals by forcing them pay to launch at the small boat harbour. When approached by SFT the St Francis Property Owners Association committee were adamant they had absolutely nothing to do with the decision. Nor did the DA as another reader has suggested. It also has nothing to do with there being no toilets for there are toilets available in the vicinity.
Rather it was our good friends DEDEAT who rightfully are enforcing existing laws. From the article published in the Express read – “Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said that a recent audit, conducted by the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), revealed that the previous municipal leadership had failed to ensure that Kouga’s boat launching sites comply with the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act 24 of 2008. So it is an open and shut case – the slipway is illegal. That is has been around since Noah used it to launch the arc matters not.
It would seem the biggest problem is that their is no control or security on who and what can launch. No checks on the sea worthiness of vessels, qualified competency of those putting out to sea nor if the vessels are even life jackets and other required safety equipment. So why should it become the NSRI’s responsibility if an ‘illegal’ launching endangers their dedicated crews when the are called out to perform a rescue?
It has been suggested that if proper manned security measures and controls are put in place and the slipway properly secured at night, an application could be submitted for consideration to reopen but as things stand, no it will remain closed. The use of the slipway at any time of day or night of course also raises another question regarding it possibly being used for illegal activities. We leave that to our readers imagination to the possible illegal activity that prevails on our shores. Grannies Pool has also become a very popular beach especially for parents with kids. It offers relatively safe bathing in a protected area.
Certainly most who have launched boats and jet skis at Grannies Pool are responsible and cautious but it only needs one clown. Should a child be caught up in a propeller or run over by a jet ski and drown and the call for it be closed to boats will be a lot more vociferous than those who have voiced their opinions on the slipway’s closing.. Won’t happen we hear some cry? That it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
With proper controls and security there is no reason DEDEAT shouldn’t reconsider their decision but who is going to make the effort and raise the necessary funds. It is doubtful the municipality would supply man power to man the security when there are alternative launch sites available at the Port , small boat harbour and under the bridge. And it is doubtful those who don’t use the slipway would dig into their pockets to support the initiative to reopen the slipway.
Another little bit of St Francis history disappears in the interests of progress.