Humewood Beach was the only beach in Nelson Mandela Bay to be awarded the coveted Blue Flag status for this year’s summer season, but the flag will not be raised at the beginning of next month following extensive storm damage.
Major erosion caused by the Shark River which came down in flood following recent rains has excavated the beach under the Humewood bridge down to left over rubble from the 1968 floods.
Economic Development and Recreational services Executive Director, Zolile Siswana, said the state of the beach meant they would not go ahead with raising the Blue Flag in November.
He said the municipality would, however, be requesting an additional month to allow for the rehabilitation of the beach from the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, who handle the Blue Flag programme nationally.
Humewood and Summerstrand Ward Councillor, Dean Biddulph, said the heavy rains and subsequent damage to the beach was unfortunate.He said he had already begun engaging with various officials to see what could be done to speed up the process of rehabilitating the beach.
It is however unlikely that the beach will meet the 32 criteria spanning four aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and services within that time frame.
While South Africa as a whole has seen a growth in qualifying Blue Flag beaches since its inception in 2001, growing from just three to 36 beaches with Blue Flag Status, Mandela Bay has seen a reversal of fortune, dropping from four Blue Flag beaches three years ago to just Humewood beach getting the flag this year.