By Donna Collins
A storm is brewing over the opening up of Langstrand beaches for free access to 4x4s, quad bikes, and party animals, which has been hotly contested by residents after the Walvis Bay Municipality staged a public meeting last week in Naraville.
Concerns have been raised that the lack of free access to the beaches is blocking local day trippers from being able to enjoy their weekend and holiday recreational activities, whilst the term ‘privatisation of rich property owners’, is said to have led to a misunderstanding of the real problem at hand.
Residents at the meeting blamed Langstrand property owners for wanting to privatise the stretch of beach in question, and made it clear that they want the beaches open for everyone’s use regardless of the laws put in place.
But Langstrand residents are digging in their heels to keep vehicles off the beaches, and some are even prepared to take legal action against the Municipality who they claim does not want to work with them.
“We constantly have to look at people urinating on the beach in front of us, and listen to revving quad bikes, plus deal with rowdy drunks who swear at you should you ask them to take it down a notch,” said one irate resident.
“The lack of policing and abuse of the law makes it difficult for people living in this area, which has become a fun in the sun retreat, which people don’t take seriously.
“Quad bikes are a big thorn in our side and in December we counted about 50 vehicles an hour driving up and down this stretch of beach, many of these were 4x4s which avoided the traffic roadblock and just did as they pleased.”
Ziggy Hentze of Langstrand Neighbourhood Watch said currently the by-law says “no to open beaches. People defy the rules all the time, and the law enforcement officials are not controlling a situation which is becoming a free for all.
“Langstrand is growing at an alarming rate and this is major concern, so we will need to find a middle solution for all parties concerned,” he added.
“We have the holidaymaker who bought their property to come and play. The locals who want to come and party over weekends, and the rate paying resident who wants to live in peace as well as anglers, so the needs of everyone needs to be considered.”
For too long now Langstrand Neighbourhood Watch, Nampol Traffic, and residents along that vast stretch of built up beach front have been fighting against the lawlessness of 4x4s, hooligan quad bike riders, and partygoers creating noise pollution and discarding unsightly litter.
In 2004 the Municipality gazette the controlling of public beaches along Langstrand by limiting access to vehicles. However, it was of the opinion at the meeting that the local residents want the by-law to be lifted, raising a point that there are no parking place or ablution facilities.
But not everyone shares this ‘free for all’ attitude, and Walvis Bay Traffic Chief Eben Platt pointed out that the by-laws were put in place for a reason, to create a safe environment for beachgoers and maintain order on beaches.
“We have our hands full with unlawful people who disregard the sign boards and barriers, in particular the unregistered and unlicensed quad bikers who are a total nuisance to the neighbourhood and pose danger as well as to the traffic flow on the B2.
“We have limited manpower controlling this current situation, but the public cannot go ahead and just do as they please and we still need to enforce the current by-laws preventing vehicles from driving up and down the beaches where families and children gather,” he said.
A second meeting will be held by the council before any changes and plans are put in place.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015