Big Bay being ‘swallowed’

Just a few more feet and the sea will be on the doorstep of the Big Bay Surf Life Saving Club.

The recent rain has left the Big Bay Surf Life Saving Club on the verge of being swallowed by the sea.
Pictures on social media show the beachfront just in front of the club and it looks as if the only thing between the sea and the building is a small road.

Big Bay Beach was closed last year due to the erosion of the dunes, and Tabletalk has covered several incidents related to dune erosion in the area.

A City official was injured last June while checking storm damage (“Official injured at beach,” Tabletalk, June 14, 2017).
Before that, in April last year, an entrance to the beach from Eden on the Bay and the Waters Edge development was closed temporarily for safety reasons (“Beach entrance temporarily closed,” Tabletalk, April 5, 2017).
Mandy da Matta, vice-chairwoman of the Table View Ratepayers’ Association, blames developers and local authorities for what is happening at Big Bay.

“I feel that the City and developers should have known that there was a risk of this thing happening there. But I think that the environmental plans were ignored by both parties, and it is shocking to see that greed overtakes the maintenance of the beachfront,” she said.

Area north mayoral committee member,Suzette Little, said the City had spent R4.6 million on restoring the beach and dunes at Big Bay, following the violent storm that battered the coast on June 7 last year.
She said wave and tidal action combined with Eden on the Bay’s poor location had led to substantial erosion of the little bit of beach that had been left by developers.

“The restoration project set out to create a more functional beach area especially at higher tides as well as to restore the buffer dunes. The dunes were set back approximately 20m and the beach was widened by as much.

“A new boat ramp was built for access for lifesaving rescue craft and a gabion wall was constructed to protect the lifesaving building from any damage that could result from further erosion,” she said.

Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) staff were removing bricks and rubble unearthed by the erosion, she said.
“While the long-term future is uncertain, there is the hope that the erosion will stabilise and a new equilibrium found even though things may deteriorate further before this happens,” said Ms Little.

Table View resident Juanita Aitkenhead said the erosion at Big Bay smacked of an environmental impact survey being “swept under the carpet” or someone not doing “their homework”.

“I’m really sorry to see this happen, but when humans do not show respect to Mother Nature, she has her way, I guess.”
Commenting on the TVRA’s Facebook page, Michele Beechley said: “You can’t bulldoze the first dune and build a shopping centre. Not sure how this was actually approved. Now we can see why some rules are for the good and not there to spoil your view or beach access.”