Blue Flag status to ‘Brighton’ beach

Officials look at what needs to be done.

BRIGHTON Beach is on its way to garnering Blue Flag status.

The Blue Flag is an international annual award which is conferred on beaches that pass certain criteria.

It focuses on the environmental management of coastlines and coastal waters to help tourism growth and development, according to the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (Wessa).

Iconic Bluff landmark, Cave Rock.

The main benchmarks for reaching Blue Flag status are good amenities, cleanliness, environmental information and management and safety. This has become the gold standard symbol internationally for safe, enjoyable beaches, boats and marinas.

Benefits of achieving Blue Flag status include increased tourism and improved beach management, both for leisure and environmental purposes.

In November Brighton Beach was awarded pilot Blue Flag status. This means in consultation with Wessa, officials must fulfill the set standards in order to gain full status.

Ward 66 councillor, JP Prinsloo met with Wessa’s Blue Flag representative, municipal departments, including parks, roads, pools, stormwater and DSW and the South Durban Basin (SDB) Area Based Management office and the Bluff Boardriders on Tuesday, 11 April.

“The main goal of the site visit was to identify the current assets of Brighton Beach and assess areas which need to be improved in order to achieve Blue Flag status. The strict criteria of the programme are set by the international co-ordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, the Foundation for Environmental Education. In SA, the programme is managed by Wessa along with participating local authorities under the department of environmental affairs’ Coastcare initiative,” said Prinsloo.

 

Officials gather to discuss the plan.

Since the Blue Flag programme began in 1987, it has grown to include 47 countries with 4,266 blue flag areas, with SA being the inaugural country outside Europe to be recognised.

There are currently 45 beaches in the country with Blue Flag status, five Blue Flag marinas and eight Blue Flag boats. Of the nine Blue Flag beaches in KZN, only two are in eThekwini – Westbrook and uShaka beaches. Included in the list of 11 beaches with pilot status are six in eThekwini – Amanzimtoti, Brighton, Umgababa, Umdloti Main and Tidal and Umhlanga Main beaches.

Each site is awarded the status for one season only and re-awarded the status every season if the criteria continues to be met.

Read: Strategies for Bluff beach safety

Blue Flag Global handles applications for the coveted status. An application is made to the national operator and adjudicated by the national jury. If the site is deemed worthy, the application is forwarded to the international jury for a final decision.

This process may take some time on the Bluff because bathing water data for a number of years needs to be included in the application and the preceding years at Brighton Beach have seen some instances of poor water quality.

“Each department has committed to ensuring all the faults identified during the site meeting be assessed and repaired in order for Brighton Beach to become the first Blue Flag beach in the SDB,” said Prinsloo.

Residents who are eager to get involved, can call Bluff Boardriders’ Duncan Pratt on 071-483-6922.

 

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  AUTHOR
Erin Hanekom
Journalist

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