While Knysna’s inaugural Blue Flag beaches season came to an on 31 January 2013, plans for at least one more Blue Flag are already being considered for the 2013/14 summer holiday season.
Knysna Municipal Manager Lauren Waring said the Knysna Blue Flag Steering Committee would probably again pursue Blue Flag status for the beaches at Buffalo Bay and Brenton-on-Sea, and was hoping to add its first Blue Flag Marina at Thesen Islands.
“Our first season was not without teething problems but the committee is confident that things can only improve from here. During the post-season feedback meeting on 30 January 2012, committee members were generally satisfied with the outcome of the past season and identified points of improvement for the coming season. The committee has also noted comments from the public, which will be considered when decisions are made regarding the 2013/2014 season.
“We are tremendously excited by the joint submission by Thesen Islands Homeowners and Thesen Harbour Town regarding the town’s proposed first Blue Flag Marina. We support their application wholeheartedly and believe it will add to the value of property and tourism in the town, and more specifically on and in the vicinity of the island,” said Waring.
Members of the public are reminded that the end of the Blue Flag season means that there are no longer lifesavers at these beaches and dogs may again be walked at any time of the day. However, according to municipal by-laws dogs are not allowed to run free on any roads or public spaces, including beaches. Dogs must always be on leashes and should be controllable by the person holding the leash.
“The Knysna Municipality thanks all members of the Knysna Blue Flag Steering Committee for their hard work and dedication in all aspects of applying for and implementing the Blue Flag standards. I thank the Knysna municipal staff who worked very hard ahead of season to get everything ready as well as our Law Enforcement Officers who were tasked to enforce the strict international requirements. Thank you also to our lifesavers who not only kept our swimmers safe but presented a friendly and helpful demeanour throughout,” said Waring.
The Knysna Blue Flag Steering Committee comprises several stakeholders including the municipalities of Knysna and Eden District, South African National Parks, WESSA, Working for the Coast, and the relevant home owners and ratepayers associations.
South Africa has participated in the Blue Flag programme since 2001. Blue Flag is an international coastal management programme that accredits beaches that meet standards of excellence in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and information as well as safety and services. The Blue Flag programme offers many benefits: improved tourism facilities, enhanced management of coastal ecosystems, increased awareness of the coast and capacity building of coastal municipalities. In South Africa the programme is implemented by the Wildlife Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA).