LOCAL authorities are planning even tighter restrictions for vehicle access to Port Alfred’s beaches on New Year’s Day.
A New Year’s planning meeting was held at the Port Alfred police station last week, chaired by station commander Colonel Lizette Zeelie and attended by various stakeholders including the traffic department, Sanral, security services, tourism, council and ratepayer associations.
They agreed that no vehicles will be allowed into the beach area on January 1, 2013, with the exception of service vehicles, residents and shuttles passing through.
The main access point will be at the traffic lights which will only allow taxis and shuttle services to pass through one way to drop off people.
Access will be restricted at the end of Becker, Miles, George, Atherstone, Keey and Van Riebeeck streets and only those who identify themselves as residents may enter. Zeelie asked that residents do not use the main access point to avoid experiencing a delay in being let through. She said that business owners would be let through and that they would make arrangements for their customers.
Chief traffic officer Fred Cannon expressed his concern that blocking off the road at the traffic lights would influence the flow of traffic on the R72. He said the biggest concern last year was the congestion on this road.
It was suggested that traffic passing through Port Alfred be diverted via Main Road. Steve Venter of the Port Alfred Business Forum said that trucks should be allowed to use the R72 without being diverted. Cannon agreed and it was decided that trucks over eight tons would be let through.
Sanral has been asked if some of their equipment could be borrowed for the day. However Zeelie said alternative plans would be made in case this was not a possibility.
Chairman of the Port Alfred Community Policing Forum (CPF), Gunther Johanssen, suggested that the krans area be used as a picnic area and not for parking as it was last year.
More beach patrollers will be recruited on West Beach to make sure there is no one in the water and that glass bottles are not brought onto the beach.
Zeelie said while it would be impractical to issue 20 000 fines for drinking in public and that their manpower could be better used elsewhere, they do have “zero tolerance” on drinking and driving, reckless driving and drunk and disorderly behaviour.
“If you are misbehaving, you will be removed. That we will be able to deal with,” she said.
No overnight camping will be permitted in the area which includes along the river and at the beach.
Cannon confirmed that the provincial traffic department would be there to assist.
Zeelie commented that there were not enough ablution facilities last year and noted in the draft document that sufficient mobile toilets will be needed. More skip bins will also be provided.
Zeelie said they will see if they can get more shuttle services running during the day as there were not enough last year. Ward 10 councillor Ross Purdon said that money for the shuttle service should come from the municipality.
At the previous festive season planning meeting, it was noted that the municipality would like to market more of its beaches.