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Vernon Gibbs-Halls

Garden Route Initiative

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Wilderness Gets BLUE FLAG back!

The Blue Flag will again fly proudly at Wilderness beach during the December/January 2016/17 holiday season.This comes after an application made by Vernon Gibbs-Halls of Eden District Municipality (environmental specialist) was approved by the National Blue Flag jury of the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (Wessa).

At a recent Blue Flag committee meeting held on 22 August, Gibbs-Halls impressed upon the members that a Blue Flag ensures safe, clean beaches and is an international recognition for tourists that the water quality and safety of the beach is of the highest standard. Wessa, in conjunction with the National Department of Tourism, have embarked on a new job creation initiative to add value to Blue Flag beaches, Wilderness beach also qualifying to gain seven beach stewards for 28 months, in further efforts to boost the tourism potential of Wilderness beach.

The seven stewards will be responsible for education, policing, manning parking, checking compliance with regard to dogs on beaches, alcohol consumption and organising activities for children on the beach during the holiday season
Gibbs-Halls also gave the Wilderness Ratepayers and Residents Association permission to embark on the long-awaited dog policy for Wilderness beach. In terms of the roles and responsibilities for Blue Flag, Gibbs-Halls emphasised that Wilderness Blue Flag beach took on a collaborative management approach. Eden complete the application and pay the R24 000 registration fee to Wessa as well as ensure that water samples are taken one a week during the season.

SANParks assists with the cleaning and operational management of the beach, George Municipality manage the ablution facilities and undertook to do cosmetic touches again this year to bring it up to standard. Working for the coast will again be very active in ensuring the cleanliness of the beach, the rehabilitation of dunes, maintaining the parking area and caring for the gardens while Salinas will assist in the management of the gate access and their ongoing support of the Wetlands Day educational activities.

The national launch of Blue Flag will be taking place at Hibiscus Coast on 30 September where Wilderness will be receiving their official Blue Flag to fly during the months of December and January.

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Photographs courtesy of Vernon Gibbs-Halls
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