Kouga Municipality would like to appeal to residents of Paradise Beach not to breach the mouth of the Seekoei estuary unlawfully.
The appeal comes in the wake of concerns that the causeway connecting Paradise Beach to Aston Bay could flood due to heavy rains.
Mayor Elza van Lingen said Council had great sympathy for the plight of Paradise Beach residents but cautioned that breaching the mouth could lead to bigger problems for residents in the long-term.
“The estuary is no longer healthy and working as it should. That’s why fish were dying in great numbers only a few months ago,” she said.
“At this stage breaching the mouth simply disturbs the eco-system more and increases the risk of the embankments actually flooding and properties being damaged.”
She said the municipality had submitted an urgent request to the East Cape Department of Roads and Public Works that the alternative gravel road to Paradise Beach from the R102 be graded so as to improve the safety of motorists should the causeway have to be closed.
The gravel road, that exits onto the R102 between Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp, falls under the jurisdiction of the Department.
She assured residents that the municipality was working on both short and long-term solutions to the causeway dilemma in partnership with the EC Department of Environmental Affairs.
“Wave deflectors are being considered for the short-term. While this won’t necessarily prevent flooding, it will reduce the amount of salty spray vehicles are exposed to,” she said.
“In order to identify a permanent solution we have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nelson Mandela University.
“Specialists from the university are putting together an Estuarine Management Plan specifically for the Seekoei estuary.
“The plan will enable Council to make an informed decision about the causeway, as well as the possible development of an alternative crossing in the long-term.”