7 Blue Flags to fly at South Coast beaches

The men's change rooms at Trafalgar beach have still not been repaired after a fire which broke out in May.

South Coast beaches have done it again – seven Blue Flags will fly, just in time for the December holiday season.

Through a rigorous multi-stage approval process involving both national and international assessment, KZN was awarded nine Blue Flags, seven of them going to Lucien, Ramsgate, Marina, Trafalgar, Southport, Umzumbe and Hibberdene.

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Margate, which lost Blue Flag status in 2012 due to its water being contaminated by the adjacent Nkongweni Estuary, missed the mark again this time around.

Earlier this year, Trafalgar residents had raised concerns about whether their beach would be able to retain its status, which was suspended pending an upgrade of the beach facilities.

Although the municipality carried out some repairs – which included a new walkway and re-fencing the pool – there was concern that the beach amenities were still not up to standard.

This is what is left of the men’s ablution block at Trafalgar beach.

The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa), which managed the Blue Flag project locally, took into account four aspects of coastal management before it awarded Blue Flag status.

These included water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety services as well as beach amenities that promote tourism and are safe to use.

At Trafalgar, the Blue Flag was awarded despite the ablution facilities being partially destroyed by a fire which broke out in May. Residents now hope the municipality will undertake to repair these before the December season.

The walkway at Trafalgar Beach has finally been repaired.

According to tourism minister, Thokozile Xasa, Blue Flags must be used as a selling tool to bring visitors to our shores and to ensure that visitors had a positive experience.

Wessa’s ecotourism manager, Vincent Shacks, said Blue Flags were an excellent example of what is achievable when government, both local and national, partner with civil society.

Roof sheets are still missing from the ablution block at Trafalgar.

“Not only does the programme encourage adherence to very high international standards for beaches, boats and marinas but it has also created an excellent platform from which to develop young and enthusiastic, sustainable tourism ambassadors,” he said.

The admiralty at Trafalgar was cleared in June last year.

 

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Zimasa Mgwili
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