Two years ago, community members in KwaZulu-Natal, launched the Tidy Towns initiative which has managed to restore and maintain public beaches and this August, Buffalo City receives its own iteration of the programme.
Founded in April 2021, Tidy Towns is a collaborative network of volunteers, private sector, law enforcement, SAPS, the Roy Nkonyeni Municipality, and security companies work together to keep public beaches safe and waste free and to maintain amenities.
It was launched by community members who were concerned that the degradation of public beaches was negatively impacting the safety and security of beachgoers and stifling tourism.
By identifying beaches of concern and working with local authorities, the project has successfully rehabilitated Shelley Beach, St Mikes Beach, Uvongo Beach, Manaba Beach and Margate Beach.
It has enabled unemployed and vulnerable people to be part of Tidy Towns clean teams tasked with keeping the beaches free of debris and ensuring that ablution facilities are in good condition in return for a small donation.
Buffalo City beaches are plagued with challenges including broken glass and litter in parking lots, overflowing public bins, vandalised ablution facilities, public drinking and damage caused by dog walkers.
Tidy Towns Buffalo City aims to address these issues by replicating collaborative networks locally. These networks intend to assist the municipality in caring for Nahoon Beach, Gonubie Beach and Bonza Bay beach.
Tidy Towns Buffalo City will assist the municipality by reporting any damage to infrastructure such as boardwalks, parking lots and ablution facilities. The volunteers will also communicate with and assist the municipality if they are unable to solve a problem due to lack of budget or skills or challenges with procurement processes.
The team will donate time, money, or skills towards solving problems on beach areas and will bring on board Clean Team volunteers who will assist.
Tidy Towns Buffalo City representative Dean Knox believes that the programme provides an extra layer of support for the municipality’s efforts, assists with problem solving and plays a vital role in alerting municipality early on to damaged infrastructure, sewerage leaks and water leaks.
Knox first became aware of the programme earlier this year after visiting St Michaels beach for a surfing tournament and seeing first hand the positive impact the programme had on that beach.
Knox said: “We are looking to initially have two Tidy Towns clean team members at Nahoon, Bonza Bay and one at Gonubie. It is important to start small and grow from there if need be.
“Tidy Towns is not a company, NPO, cc or other entity. It is a collection of likeminded community members and businesses who would like to put their shoulder to the wheel as they see value in civic action for the betterment of our local beaches.
“People and businesses can donate their time, some money to pay the clean team volunteers or their skills such as plumbing, metal work, refuse removal, erecting signage or grass cutting.
“There are many great initiatives in Buffalo City. Tidy Towns would like to support these initiatives by providing a vehicle for people and businesses to unite behind.
“We have had meetings with key Buffalo City departments and the Border Kei Chamber of Business who will add Tidy Towns to their MOU with BCM so that the initiative can leverage off the existing networks and relationships and bring the whole community on board for a cleaner town for all.”
To find out more about the initiative or to donate time and skills please contact Dean Knox on 083-305-2590 for Nahoon, Tristan Johnson on 084-515-1431 for Gonubie and Scott Roebert on 083-458-0163 for Bonza Bay.