Blue Flag progress made in Nelson Mandela Bay
Years of work paid off for the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality when two of its neglected beaches were awarded Blue Flag pilot status.
Wells Estate and Bluewater Bay beaches were on Friday announced as having been awarded pilot status, with Hobie, Kings and Humewood beaches having retained full Blue Flag status.
To get Wells Estate and Bluewater Bay beaches to full status, a host of infrastructure upgrades will have to go ahead as planned, to comply with the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (Wessa) Blue Flag programme.
The process takes between two and three years, sports, recreation, arts & culture boss Noxolo Nqwazi revealed on Monday.
Nqwazi said their efforts to get the two beaches closer to obtaining Blue Flag status had started in 2013.
“The focus for a Blue Flag pilot is to ensure that the Blue Flag minimum requirements are attended to.”
Nqwazi said the next step was to ensure that infrastructure amenities such as buildings and change rooms were maintained on a regular basis and that disabled facilities and relevant signage were in place.
Other requirements are:
● Water quality sampling protocol (as guided by the Minimum Recreational Water Standards);
● Presence of lifeguards;
● Safety and security;
● Complaint management system to be implemented; and
● Environmental management – general environmental education and aquatic safety and awareness programme.
Nqwazi said the milestones were a result of work the city had put in.
“The municipality can only improve from here. The infrastructure requirements for both beaches . . . will continue to be part of the budgeting process going forward,” she said.
“Bluewater Bay has also been added to the list, which means more resources will have to be allocated to that beach as well to ensure both receive full status soon.”
Wessa general manager Vincent Shacks said on Saturday that the organisation would work with beach managers and tourism beach stewards from the pilot beaches towards the longer-term goal of achieving Blue Flag status.
Wessa also awarded 66 blue flags to be proudly flown at 46 beaches, eight marinas and 12 sustainable boats across SA during the 2018/2019 Blue Flag season.
These include Hobie, Kings and Humewood beaches, which have been part of the programme.
Bay beaches that do not have Blue Flag status currently include Brighton, Pollok, Sardinia Bay, Blue Horizon Bay and Maitlands.