By Kaya 959 Reporter
The Blyde Riverwalk Estate, Balwin Properties has defended its decision to charge more for lagoon access.
Over the weekend The Blyde Riverwalk Estate, an estate with a beach-like crystal clear lagoon in Pretoria was trending for allegedly charging residents and guests R250 to access the lagoon.
Owners at The Blyde Riverwalk Estate…. protesting peacefully in their estate for the R250 entrance fees for guests and residents. pic.twitter.com/yuuVWBZGlc
— kelbz (@Kelbz2) September 18, 2021
‘Frequent Overcrowding’ and ‘Lack of Security’
In a right of reply sent to Kaya 959 on Monday, Balwin explained the reasoning for their stance, stating that long-term residents have complained about ‘frequent overcrowding’ and ‘a lack of security’ at the facility.
“The lagoon and lifestyle centre at The Blyde has been developed first and foremost for the recreation and enjoyment of homeowners in a law-abiding family environment. There are approximately 200 short-term rental apartments and over 900 owner-occupied or long-term rented apartments.”
“The HoA has a duty towards all homeowners and it must consider the best interests of The Blyde. Since 2018, the permanent residents residing at The Blyde have sent numerous complaints to the HoA in relation to short-term letting within The Blyde due to the unruly conduct that has become the norm.”
“Balwin has been inundated with complaints from residents regarding overcrowding of the lagoon area by guests from short-term letting apartments as well as the fact that residents do not feel safe and secure within the development – which is of great concern for all stakeholders.” | Balwin statement
Balwin said they found that access to the residence and the lagoon areas was being abused and therefore introduced an increase on the fee for all visitors, guests and short-term guests from R100 to R250.
They argue that they were left with little choice but to react promptly, saying they had investigated the matters raised by the residents which included gross systematic abuse including the illegal sale of visitor access codes:
“The HoA and Balwin investigated the matter further and found a gross systemic abuse of the access code system, and instances of illegal short-term letting of apartments as well as the illegal sale of visitor access codes.”
“The abuse led to unabated access to the development by guests staying at short-term rental apartments, creating serious health, safety, and security concerns. The HoA held an urgent meeting and addressed these issues.”
“We therefore resolved to reduce the number of visitor access codes and number of guests per apartment allowed in the lagoon area – whereas all permanent residents and long term tenants will be allowed to access the lagoon area at no charge. But the access fee for all visitors/guests/short-term guests was increased from R100 to R250.”
In the statement they also indicated that the Home owner’s Association has decided to call a special general meeting on 11 October 2021 to vote on the prohibition of short-term letting within the Development.