IT is unfortunate that in having a good time, some people cannot be considerate of others.
This has been the case at the Beach Road braai pens in Port Alfred for a number of years. What was meant to be a picturesque spot to have an enjoyable riverside picnic has become notorious as a venue for drunken revelry and excessive noise from car stereos, continuing well into the night.
The people most affected by the loutish behaviour are the permanent residents and holidaymakers in flats adjacent to the braai area, and marina residents who have the noise carried across to them over the Kowie River.
But the unruly behaviour is offensive to anyone travelling down Beach Road who has to take care to avoid revellers partying in the street and sees the litter left lying there after the revelry is over.
Neighbours are afraid to ask revellers to turn down their music as the response is often aggressive.
This writer has experienced alcohol-fuelled aggression first-hand when the police responded to an alert about people drinking alcohol on West Beach and discarding their glass bottles on the sand.
Reporting on the incident two years ago, TotT was threatened by a hostile group who gathered around a friend who had been arrested by police.
That was one of the few times police took strong action against lawbreakers who disregard the bylaws against drinking in public. There is a law against littering too, but the offenders faced no consequences for that.
The police have been criticised for handling public drinking offences with kid gloves, and appear reluctant to respond to complaints about disturbances at the braai pens.
Police have said they need the cooperation of the municipality to enforce its own bylaws, but to date the municipality has shown little effort in this regard.
There were meetings between aggrieved homeowners, police and municipal officials a year ago, and the municipality undertook at that time to demolish the Beach Road braai facilities and upgrade the Krantz braai area next to the Port Alfred Hospital, to encourage picnickers to rather use that spot.
The Krantz braai area has been upgraded, but the municipality seems to have backed away from an agreement to do away with the Beach Road braai area.
It is in the context of ongoing problems at the Beach Road site that a group of property owners has now threatened legal action against the municipality if it fails to enforce its bylaws.
We hope the police and municipality can work together, starting now, to uphold the law and restore peace to an area that has been tainted by bad behaviour.
– Jon Houzet