On Monday 30 November 2015, Deputy Mayor Rudolph Smith officially declared Overstrand’s three Blue Flag beaches – Grotto, Hawston and Kleinmond – open for the season.
As is to be expected, the flag-hoisting ceremony was attended by a host of interested onlookers – sponsors, restaurateurs, lifeguards, law enforcers, officials and the like – who have all come to recognise the Blue Flag as a symbol of top-class beaches where sun seekers can revel in the waves with the sure knowledge that they are safe and sound and will have the best amenities at their disposal.
In addition to being “consumer-friendly”, though, Blue Flag beaches must adhere to strict criteria aimed at preserving our precious shores. And this is the message Cllr Smith sought to bring home when he urged all Overstranders to set an example in as far as good behaviour towards one another and the environment is concerned. “We are privileged to have such a fantastic natural resource at our disposal: One that not only brings pleasure but also stimulates local economic development. Let us all do our best to cherish this resource for many generations to come by behaving responsibly and leading by example,” he said.
Fittingly, the flag-hoisting ceremony commenced at Grotto followed by Hawston and Kleinmond. With its uninterrupted 15-year Blue Flag status, Grotto is now the beach that has held this status the longest amongst all 39 beaches ever to be afforded this honour.
Cllr Smith also used the flag-hoisting opportunity to thank all those tasked with looking after Overstrand's beaches in the weeks to come – the maintenance staff, law enforcers, lifeguards, cleaners, parking officials and the likes – for their dedication towards ensuring that Overstrand’s Blue Flag beaches will retain this coveted status for many years to come.
Grotto’s Blue Flag-status kicked in on 1 December and will remain effective till 31 March 2016. In the case of Hawston and Kleinmond, this status will come into effect on 15 December and remain effective till 15 January 2016.