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Letter received from Rupert Worsdale
Your leading article in the December 2010 edition about the bulldozing of the dunes does nothing to advance the debate.
The only way that this issue can move forward is if there is consensus on the following points:
As the CSIR Report of 1988 demonstrates, most of Pringle Bay was a mobile dune- field extending at least half a kilometre inland from where the current dune line is. There was no vegetation on the dune-field and in particular no fynbos. Therefore, in order to restore the status quo ante, all of the present vegetation would have to be ploughed up and the dune-field allowed to invade the streets and houses behind the beachfront houses. The issue is accordingly an issue that does not just affect the beachfront houses and it is not a fynbos conservation issue.
What stabilised the dune-field was the growing of rooikrans. This then enabled the township to be proclaimed, thereby conferring property rights on the stand owners, which are now constitutionally protected.
The clearing away of the rooikrans has
meant that, unless the mobile dune-fields were to be re- established, with the consequences referred to in paragraph 1 above, some other form of stabilisation has to be used. The most effective form of stabilisation has been and continues to be marram grass. 4.To bulldoze a dune for a better view is undoubtedly a criminal offence. However, to take reasonable and proportionate measures to protect one's lawfully acquired property is not a criminal offence under the doctrine of necessity.
Extreme views, which do not take into account either the facts or the arguments of the other side, are something that one sees elsewhere, but one would not wish to see in Pringle Bay. It is time that the debate moved forward on the basis that there is an acceptable way of achieving a reasonable balance between the interests of the homeowners (not just the beachfront home owners) and nature. Hopefully your publication will in future contribute constructively to the resolution of the issue. A first step would be to make the 1988
Report and all subsequent reports available on the Pringle Bay website.
Rupert Worsdale, London
“Dear Mr. Worsdale, Your letter is welcomed. The saga of the sand dune encroachment on beach front houses has been taking place for some time. The Pringle Bay Ratepayers is extremely sympathetic to the plight of home owners who built houses in an area which was designated as suitable for housing by the Municipality at that time. It's likely, though, that expert opinion would advise that in no way should approval of building plans in area of natural shifting sands be granted.
The Association, although understanding the possible frustration of some owners, can never condone the breaking of the law and of an owner taking such unilateral and drastic action. This action was deemed offensive and totally inappropriate by a large section of the community.”
Please note that the CSIR report referred to by Rupert Worsdale is available from the PBRA Chairman on request.
Jetty and Ed Erasmus, who lost everything they owned in the fire that completely destroyed their home, were overwhelmed by the support, love, care and generosity of people, especially from Pringle Bay and Betty's Bay, following the event. Jetty and Ed would like to express their deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks to family, friends and strangers alike throughout South Africa, the UK and the US, who banded together, collected money, thoughtfully purchased everything to meet their basic daily needs, offered accommodation, assistance and emotional support, and donated cash,
clothing, bedding and other necessities. “We have never experienced such an enormous outpouring of caring and support, and feel very privileged to be part of a community of such wonderful, caring people. We would have loved to mention everyone by name, including all the members of Pringle Bay's Ladies Club, but the list would fill this entire publication. Thank you, each and every one, for carrying us through this terrible ordeal and sharing your love and care with us”.
Many thanks and kind regards,
Jetty and Ed
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