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03 August 2011

Flood debris too expensive to clear

Image: Hikers, Jolene Sutton, Marco Germena and Lesley Greef hiked from Leentjiesklip where tons of flood debris has been stacked on heaps. The removal thereof is somewhat problematic. Photo: Pauline Lourens

GEORGE NEWS - The bulk of the debris left in the wake of the June 2011 floods along beaches within the George Municipality’s boundaries was cleared by municipal cleaning teams before the winter holidays.

Beaches at Heroldsbaai, Gwaing River Mouth and Victoria Bay were cleared of tree trunks, and a few tons of wood was trucked away. The scope of work and volume of wood deposited on the Wilderness beach was however far bigger than at any of the other beaches.

The wood was stacked in heaps by municipal workers, and deliberations took place over whether to burn or remove it.
But the cost of trucking it away would amount to R100 000 - funds which had not been budgeted for.

All available disaster funds were used to provide relief to residents whose lives were disrupted by the heavy rains.

"In the past disaster relief funding was released by central government but this year it would appear that no such funding will become available," said Head of Environmental Affairs, André Smith upon enquiry.

Smith invited the public to take the wood lying in heaps at Wilderness beach for their own use. He added that it was currently being considered transporting the wood to nearby communities who could use it for fuel.

"We decided against burning the wood after WESSA indicated that the debris deposited on the beaches during the floods, is a natural occurrence that should not be disrupted as it contains certain substances that is valuable.

"We however felt we had to clear some of the wood so that people could still use the beaches."

- George Herald