Is there trouble in paradise? Never having been there, one can only assume it means Plettenberg Bay.
Is Plett a refuge for the grey-haired, or a holiday town that should be a magnificent tourism destination, creating employment for the ever-increasing population?
So why is the municipality making life so hard for the one fully-functioning organisation that can and has achieved great things - by cutting its budget, making its future uncertain, and making it despair of its role in years to come?
Now is surely the time to set a three-year budget, to allow Plett Tourism to do its job properly, to give confidence to get on with a job that they do so well.
Plett needs tourism and the employment and money that come from it. Let’s face it: there ain’t much else here apart from the building industry.
The mayor pointed out that the population is increasing by 15,000 people per year. These people need housing - but what’s the use of a house that you can’t afford to live in, as it is increasingly difficult for the local population to survive?
Plett is not a rich town; it is a poor one, apart from the isolated pockets of wealth.
There is a proposal to build a playing field for R3-million for children to hone their sports skills. Great idea, but does it create a future for those kids?
Tourism throughout the world is known to be the tested way to uplift a local population, so why not in Plettenberg Bay?
We would have lost the nascent Wine and Bubbly Festival due to the lack of municipal funding and it was only the threat of cancellation that saved it.
It is this constant short-sightedness that is going to lead to the loss of a hard-working dedicated team at Plett Tourism - the lack of long-term support by Bitou Municipality.
The budget for tourism today is lower than five years ago. There should be more than enough money, however, if you look at the increasing annual rates.
Perhaps the mayor could look at his own department, since that budget is more than what is allocated for tourism. We need a dedicated tourist industry.
We need to give Plett Tourism the money and confidence to continue the brilliant work they have been doing. Without their help we will become the town of unrequited dreams, falling apart at the seams.
PS: Can’t we give our beach patrollers a decent uniform, instead of looking like prison wardens - something Californian like blue shorts and white tops, broad-brimmed blue hats… something cool?!
Paul Deans, Plett
(This missive was sent to Bitou Municipality for a response, as per a new directive in terms of who such correspondence should be addressed to, but not as much as an acknowledgement of receipt had been received by going to press. - Eds.)