Permits needed for dune access at coast

Permits needed for dune access at coast

THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism will manage the coastal dune belt and issue permits for its use as an interim measure until it is formally proclaimed a protected area.

This was announced by Environment Minster Willem Konjore in Windhoek yesterday. Konjore said this was decided at a Cabinet meeting held on March 27.The decision was based on the outcome of a two-day conference at the end of last year, at which local authorities, line ministries, the Erongo Regional Council and tourism operators participated.The Minister said it was envisaged that the dune belt be included in a recreational area known as the Walvis Bay Nature Reserve.The reserve will be proclaimed in due course.”The reason for this is that some extremely sensitive areas of high bio-diversity importance, such as the breeding site of the Damara Tern and the estuary of the Swakop River into the Atlantic Ocean, exist in this area,” he said.Permits to use the dune belt area for recreational purposes, particularly by off-road vehicles, will be issued at the Ministry’s offices at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay during the Easter weekend and thereafter.”Every user and visitor to this area is thus obliged to adhere and obey the conditions and rules as laid down,” said Konjore.He said everyone found transgressing these rules would be dealt with in terms of the applicable legal instruments.Off-road driving should only be done at designated sites.Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism will be on duty to monitor the utilisation of the dune belt at all times.The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Malan Lindeque, said the minimum punishment is a N$300 fine.Konjore said this was decided at a Cabinet meeting held on March 27.The decision was based on the outcome of a two-day conference at the end of last year, at which local authorities, line ministries, the Erongo Regional Council and tourism operators participated.The Minister said it was envisaged that the dune belt be included in a recreational area known as the Walvis Bay Nature Reserve.The reserve will be proclaimed in due course.”The reason for this is that some extremely sensitive areas of high bio-diversity importance, such as the breeding site of the Damara Tern and the estuary of the Swakop River into the Atlantic Ocean, exist in this area,” he said.Permits to use the dune belt area for recreational purposes, particularly by off-road vehicles, will be issued at the Ministry’s offices at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay during the Easter weekend and thereafter.”Every user and visitor to this area is thus obliged to adhere and obey the conditions and rules as laid down,” said Konjore.He said everyone found transgressing these rules would be dealt with in terms of the applicable legal instruments.Off-road driving should only be done at designated sites.Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism will be on duty to monitor the utilisation of the dune belt at all times.The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Malan Lindeque, said the minimum punishment is a N$300 fine.

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