Beach 4x4 ban sparks outrage
February 21 2007 at 11:38AM
Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk's decision not to budge on the 4x4 ban has evoked strong reaction from the Beach Action Committee of SA, which accuses him of closing the door to further good faith negotiations and of "hanging small coastal communities out to dry".
The association in St Lucia Estuary hit out at Van Schalkwyk's "rhetoric of better times to come" through his department's "splendid interventions".
Past promises had "seldom if ever materialised", it added.
The association, which has actively campaigned for more than three years for the controlled re-opening of beaches for recreational vehicles, said it was impossible to address in a single press release "all the inconsistencies, assumptions, perceptions and lack of factual foundation" in both Van Schalkwyk's statement and the underlying socio-economic impact study report.
The report in itself, said the association, was "nothing more than a substantiation of the perceptions and 'policies' of the chequebook holder - the minister".
It only endeavoured to negate the findings of a report by a Cape Town-based environmental consultancy in 2005 on the socio-economic impact of the beach ban on coastal communities - findings, said the association, that the minister could not accept and justify in terms of the regulations banning public vehicle access to the beaches.
Van Schalkwyk's actions, decisions and statements in the entire beach access issue had clearly demonstrated the "monocular and undemocratic" decision-making", said the association.
It said it had instructed legal counsel to study all related documentation, evaluate the processes and comment on Van Schalkwyk's decision in order to proceed in the matter, as "good-faith negotiation with the minister is no longer a possibility".
This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on February 21, 2007