FED up with sleepless nights and diminishing property values due to ongoing disturbances at the controversial Beach Road braai pens, a group of Port Alfred residents has given Ndlambe municipality an ultimatum to enforce its noise and drinking bylaws or face legal action.
The group of property owners, including Royal Alfred Marina homeowners across the Kowie River and the managing agents of holiday flats adjacent to the braai pens, sent a lawyer’s letter to the municipality on October 31 and demanded action within 30 days.
The letter, from Audie Attorneys, states the municipality has allowed “intolerably and offensively loud noise principally under the guise of ‘music’ at the pens”; failed to inform the public and in particular the patrons of the pens of the bylaws promoting responsible use of the area; and failed to enforce its bylaws or cause the same to be enforced by the police.
“Serious and well-intended endeavours have been made to deal with and resolve very real issues in a spirit of tolerance and understanding. The efforts have, however, not yielded the desired results. This is a matter of regret,” the letter stated.
TotT visited the braai pens on Saturday evening and witnessed drinking in public and loud revelry by the people using the facilities.
“It was worse on Friday night,” said marina resident Dave Young, who is a member of the group which sent the lawyer’s letter.
“It’s starting to happen every weekend building up to the holiday season.”
Young said the revelry also happened mid-week.
“Tuesday night they went crazy. People were shouting and swearing and loud music was playing.”
He said he called the police repeatedly until they sent a patrol car. Revellers quietened down for a while, but the noise started up again shortly after the police left.
“There’s absolutely no commitment from the police. They issue no fines and make no arrests,” he said.
Warwick Heny of Remax Kowie, the managing agent for Settler Sands flats next to the braai pens, said he supported the legal action “because we’ve exhausted every other attempt”.
“Remember last year the mayor agreed to tear (the braai facilities) down. Nothing came of the idea to make it a no-parking area,” said Heny.
“We don’t want to fight the municipality but they seem unwilling or unable to uphold the bylaws.”
He said property values had been negatively affected, as the value of riverfront flats facing the braai pens were “far lower” than units facing the sea.
“We as a body represent about 70 owners at Settler Sands. Owners feel they need to support any action which will resolve this situation.”
Property owners gave Ndlambe municipality 30 days to act on its obligations or face “legal proceedings to compel performance”. The deadline is tomorrow (Friday).
Port Alfred station commander Colonel Lizette Zeelie said: “The Instruction has already been issued to all members to intensify patrols around the braai areas during the festive season and also to enforce the relevant bylaws.”
She said she knew the municipality was currently training people to assist with enforcing the bylaws.
“We will still discuss what exactly their powers will be once trained,” said Zeelie.
Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa said the residents’ concerns would be addressed “from December 1”.
He said their lawyer would be furnished with the municipality’s plan for the festive season, including the area in question.
“Ndlambe will be making its festive activity plan available via its website, newsletter and official media statement within the next week.”