Helpers with some of the trash that was collected.
GEORGE NEWS - A joint initiative has been launched between the George Municipality and the Wilderness Ratepayers and Residents Association (WRRA) to clear overgrown properties in ongoing efforts to reduce fire risk and maintain the seaside village's aesthetic beauty.
The Wilderness Heights area was also cleaned last week and tonnes of household waste were removed.
George Municipality Director of Community Services Walter Hendricks said officials from the fire department, environmental health and parks and recreation, together with Community Services Portfolio Councillor Marlene Barnardt (also ward councillor for Wilderness) met with the WRRA to discuss fire risks and related community matters.
"The clearing of overgrown private properties, especially on erven where the owners have not yet built and are absent, has been identified as a matter that can easily be addressed with joint cooperation between the municipality and residents," said Hendricks.
He said the municipality has an ongoing programme to manage overgrown properties, which could be enhanced by the help of residents.
"While officials identify overgrown properties on an ongoing basis as they move through areas in the course of their work, they cannot be everywhere and the help of citizens to identify and report overgrown properties is greatly appreciated."
An awareness campaign is being launched to make residents in Wilderness Heights aware of their responsibility to keep their environment clean.
WRRA chairman Donald Goldfain said the association will help raise awareness and encourage residents to report overgrown properties, including the physical address or location of the plot.
As standard procedure the municipality investigates and, if applicable, informs the property owners of their responsibility to clear the property, giving guidelines to what is expected to be cleared. Information regarding the identification of alien vegetation is also included and the property owners are reminded of their legal obligation to manage alien vegetation.
Overgrown properties in the Wilderness Heights area will be cleaned and the owners billed if they do not take care of it within two weeks of notification.
The municipality cleared a property next to the Wilderness Common to serve as an example of what a suitably cleared property should look like.
Citizens of all areas within the George municipal area can report overgrown properties on 044 802 2900.