Kouga Municipality is investigating the possible removal of a portion of the dune at Cape St Francis that sparked a community protest earlier this month.
Kouga Finance Portfolio Councillor, Brenton Williams, said the municipality would be submitting an emergency application to the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) in terms of Section 30(A)2 of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema), requesting permission to try and redress the situation that gave rise to the protest.
Williams, who’s been acting as Executive Mayor this past week, said the dune had been built-up and extended by a few local property owners.
“The dune now stretches right up to the high-water mark. This results in a massive backwash, especially at high tide when the swell is big,” he said.
He said the municipality was exploring ways to minimise the immediate threat to lives while also protecting public land and private properties along the coast.
“One of the short-term solutions we are considering, is removing a portion of the dune,” he said.
“Once the immediate risk has been addressed, the next step is to compile a dune management plan for our region’s coastal areas.”
He said global warming, rising sea levels and coastal developments dating back to before current Environmental legislation were all contributing to a range of safety challenges along the coast.
“In some areas the beach has eroded to such an extent that municipal infrastructure and properties are at risk of being washed away by the ocean.
“In other areas infrastructure and properties are at risk of being overrun by sand.”
He said a dune management plan was essential going forward so as to keep coastal communities safe from these climate-related challenges.