A third Mossel Bay beach, De Bakke beach, has been awarded coveted international Blue Flag status. A fourth beach, Little Brak River, has achieved Blue Flag pilot status, in line with the Mossel Bay Municipality’s objective of applying for full Blue Flag status for the beach in 2013.
Blue Flag status is awarded in respect of beaches that meet the strict standards of the international Blue Flag organisation in terms of safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. Water quality is one of the most important criteria.
Two other popular Mossel Bay beaches, namely Santos Beach and Hartenbos Beach, have retained their coveted Blue Flag status for the 2012/2013 holiday season. Blue Flag status was awarded to these beaches for the first time in 2009.
“Blue Flag status is an international status of excellence and we are very proud of this achievement. It requires diligent and careful management of the beaches and their environments to ensure that the strict criteria are met and the standards maintained. The Municipality’s beach management team has done Mossel Bay proud in not only maintaining Blue Flag status for Santos and Hartenbos, but also achieving this status for De Bakke beach.
“Blue Flag status is also important from a local economic development point of view as it is a known fact that many tourists are drawn by Blue Flag beaches,” said the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira.
The Municipality will operate the two beaches as Blue Flag beaches from 09:00 tot 17:00 daily from1 December 2012 to 31 January 2013. Beaches are normally operated as Blue Flag beaches for limited periods of time because of the cost and logistical requirements. Blue Flag status is awarded for a year at a time and Municipalities must apply annually to renew the status.
The Blue Flag organisation does regular inspections when the beaches are in operation to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria as laid down. The Municipality will also patrol the beaches regularly to ensure that all requirements, including the strict enforcement of regulations concerning dogs and other domestic animals on the beaches, are met at all times.
There are 36 Blue Flag beaches and marinas in South Africa, of which 24 are in the Western Cape. Over 40 countries are currently participating in the international Blue Flag programme, with a total of 3 489 beaches and marinas awarded the Blue Flag status in 2012.
Holding the Blue Flag certificates are, from left to right, Mr Colin Puren, Director of Community Services, the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira, and the Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz.