This will include stricter and increased law enforcement, particularly against alcohol abuse and associated unruly behaviour on beaches and public amenities. The municipality will also employ additional temporary point duty and law enforcement officials, as well as life guards and have additional fire fighters on standby.
Knysna Municipal Manager, Lauren Waring, said the greater Knysna area was summer party headquarters for locals and visitors alike and the Municipality wanted everyone to enjoy the region’s many wonders safely.
“The municipality’s comprehensive plan addresses a range of public safety issues, which is supported by municipal bylaws and will be strictly enforced. Municipal Law Enforcement will be working closely with the South African Police Service (SAPS), local neighbourhood watch and in some cases private security firms to ensure a comprehensive approach regarding all aspects of public safety.
“All our safety and security and traffic staff will be on duty (none are allowed leave unless there are exceptional circumstances) and will be assisted by additional trained, temporary staff. The fire readiness plan is aligned to the provincial fire readiness plan and includes air rescue.”
Ms Waring explained that alcohol abuse was central to much of the crime and anti-social behaviour that tended to rear its head during the holiday season. “No alcohol will be allowed on beaches and public amenities, and no drunkenness and associated unruly behaviour will be permitted in streets and public places. Please do not drive under the influence of alcohol.
“Places where locals traditionally celebrate public holidays such as Family Day and New Year’s Eve will be strictly monitored to ensure that waterside revelling does not spill onto the properties of private homes. To reduce traffic congestion and address parking issues, no busses will be allowed in areas of limited space, nor any loud music from private sound systems. No tents or overnighting on public land will be permitted.”
“Law Enforcement officers and traffic officials will do duty in public spaces during the holiday season to keep the peace and to ensure that permanent residents’ homes and privacy are protected as much as possible. It should be noted that law enforcement will be applied across the board at all beaches and amenities, and no exceptions will be made.”
Life guards will be on duty on beaches from 7 December 2012.
Ms Waring also reminded locals and visitors that two of its beaches, Buffalo Bay and Brenton-on-Sea, had Blue Flag status this year. “Conditions under which Blue Flag beaches are awarded include that no dogs are allowed in the designated bathing areas of such beaches during peak holiday periods from 1 December 2012 to 31 January 2013.
“To accommodate pet-lovers, designated areas outside the swimming zone will be open for this purpose before 9am and after 5pm every day. In Brenton the pet-friendly zone is 300 metres west of the second lifesaving flag and in Buffalo Bay it starts east of the last beach residence. Dogs must be on a leash at all times and pet owners must clean up after their dogs and dispose of poop bags in the correct bins. Normal access routes can be used to both beaches.”
Ms Waring thanked all holidaymakers and locals in advance for their cooperation regarding the public use of facilities. “The Knysna Municipality supports and encourages the responsible use of public beaches and amenities. However, it cannot be at the expense of people’s safety, privacy and property. We appeal to every individual to consider the greater good of our town and our people so that our visitors and our locals will have a great time, and will want to return to our beautiful beaches and amenities,” said Waring.