Once again another year is moving towards its conclusion and there is an air of excitement in Plett. We have so much to share with our visitors. Nature has engineered a beautiful new beach to replace the popular Lookout washed away in the floods a few years ago. It offers glorious sea and lagoon walks , with the opportunity to enjoy new visitors to our shore such as our group of flamingos, large flocks of Arctic terns, Ibises and herons amongst many other species.
Leave them birds alone
That leads us to a hotly debated issue namely how to protect the nesting birds on Lookout Beach whilst sharing the same area with the public, their children and their animals? With the arrival of the season, boat traffic on the lagoon will increase and there are many cases reported of birds caught up in fishing lines, boats, dogs and children chasing rare nesting birds from their nests. In the case of the Flamingos this is the first time they have returned to Keurbooms lagoon in two decades. So we issue a very earnest request that whilst enjoying the walks, swimming, sunbathing etc on Lookout, PLEASE be aware that there are breeding colonies all along the beach. Keep your dogs when not on a leash under your control, make your children aware so that all of us can continue to enjoy the beauty of this unique area for many more years.
Oil and gas exploration
Plans are afoot to explore for oil and gas off the coast between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, and there are concerns about the impact on marine life and more especially whales. Ivan Keir, a Knysna businessman, has drawn up a petition garnering 700 signatures, arguing that people along the Garden Route were not adequately informed of the public participation process.
The petitioners have won a temporary reprieve in that the Petroleum Association of South Africa upheld their claim and a last ditch effort to stave off the project has succeeded, but only until further investigations can be carried out.
With the season poised to start there will be a considerable increase in waste. The landfill site that Plettenberg Bay used for 15 – 20 years has reached the end of its life. There are no suitable landfill sites locally so all refuse must be trucked to PetroSA’s landfill site in Mossel Bay As this site has limited capacity, Eden district is in the process of licensing a new site near Mossel Bay that will offer 50 years of use. Bitou has agreed with Eden that its waste will go to the new dump once licensed.
Trucking waste to Mossel Bay is extremely expensive costing R150,000 per month for transport and an additional R60,000 for dumping charges. It is therefore imperative that everyone, whether residents, visitors etc keep to the minimum the volumes due for trucking, by actively engaging in recycling. If every home and business in Plett were to make a point of setting aside recyclable waste for separate collection by the municipality the cost of trucking and dumping in Mossel Bay could be reduced by R160,000 per month or an annual saving of R2 million! So let’s all keep our waste to the very minimum and recycle where possible.
How it all started
We have so often referred to the whales in our bay which afford us so much pleasure. The Southern Right whales arrive midyear from Antartic waters and cavort in the Winter sunshine, blowing noisily and flapping and slapping their tails and fins. In her room at Formosa Garden Village Val Williams remembers that some decades ago she was watching these antics when an idea started to form. She had seen a film about whale-watching in New Zealand where it had grown into a full blown industry that transformed the country’s entire economy. So why could this not be done in Plett?
Val sent her suggestion to the local wildlife society that perhaps it was time to focus on marine life instead of only land based animals. However her suggestion received a lukewarm reception and she then decided to do something herself. She contacted the whale-watching organisation in Hermanus and decided to organise a symposium that would offer a more academic insight on the topic and be the core impetus to a tourist whale route all along the Southern Cape coastline.
It was a great opportunity for many people to share their knowledge and worldwide expert Peter Best delivered the key note address. The whole town pulled together to support an occasion that really promoted the whale-watching industry. Today all of us can see the very successful and lucrative fruits of Val’s courageous endeavour.
Plett Summer Guide
And so it remains for us to wish you all a successful end to your year and safe travelling to your holiday destination. May this be the best holiday season ever!
When in Plett, pick up a copy of the Plett Summer Guide which will be available from early December. The guide will include a festival calendar to ensure that you don’t miss a moment of Plett’s summer events including the Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge, polo match fixtures, live music, DJ’s and activities for the whole family.
Also, visit the website of Plett Tourism for more information.