Long wait for beach upgrade

Happy Valley informal settlement along the R27 continues to be a problem for the City of Cape Town with illegal activities and more land invasion taking place at the site.

Table View may have to wait until 2022 before it sees any real improvements to its decaying coastline.

This is according to a “transversal business plan” presented at a City of Cape Town feedback session in the Leibrandt van Niekerk Hall in Table View on Monday.

The meeting was attended by councillors Dr Joy McCarthy, Nicky Rheeder and Nora Grose who all gave presentations on on-going projects, challenges and achievements in their respective wards.

The transversal business plan discussed problems faced by the beachfront, possible solutions and time frames of construction.

According to Natalie Newman of the City’s environmental department, the earliest date to get a civil construction contract could be October 2021 while a contract for a dune rehabilitation programme could follow a month later.

To get the ball rolling on a building construction contract could happen a year later, she said.

Options of rehabilitation included a “hard edge” sea wall promenade such as the one built in Strand but it had been decided against as R360 million would be needed to do the 3km coastline, said Ms Newman.

Another reason for the hard edge being discounted was that the coastline was considered “dynamically stable” and was not at risk in the medium term to coastal erosion or sea level rise, she said.

The “soft edge” rehabilitation option which includes, among other things, dune rehabilitation and upgrades such as reinstating board blocks and removing old toilet blocks, was the favoured option.

“The soft approach was implemented successfully before. It just failed due to a lack of maintenance,” said Ms Newman.

To move forward with this plan, a report must be submitted to council with a business plan. Council will then decide the way forward as well as the budget.

Table View Ratepayers Association chairwoman Mandy da Matta said the area was an “ideal tourist node”, and she wanted to know if the City’s planned to provide for “joint ventures” with beachfront business to turn the area into a hub of activity that could generate income.

Ms Newman said the plan focused specifically on the rehabilitation of the coastline.

Ms Rheeder added that nothing was set in stone.

Dr McCarthy’s Ward 113 covers parts of Table View, Parklands, West Riding, Flamingo Vlei, Milnerton (Rietvlie), Sunridge and Killarney Gardens.

Diep River’s poor water quality, vagrancy, densification, and taxi lawlessness were some of the problems in the ward, she said.

She claimed the most “vagrants” in her ward were not truly homeless but gang parolees with fixed addresses.

This had caused a spike in crime, especially in Flamingo Vlei, she said, but added that the trend had been countered by the creation of a hotspot intervention task team paid for from the ward allocation budget.

Nora Grose’s list of achievements for Ward 23 included, among other things, receiving a blue flag status at Melkbosstrand Beach for a second year in a row and completing the rehabilitation of the beachfront at Eden on the Bay.

The Happy Valley settlement along the R27, continued to be one of the biggest problems in her ward, she said.

Ms Grose said in 2015 she had made it clear that people already living in Happy Valley would not be removed but more people would be prevented from moving onto the land.

“Legally the City does not have the powers to remove Happy Valley residents. National government must offer them alternative housing,” she said.

A resident asked Ms Grose knew of any plans national government had for Happy Valley. Ms Grose assured her that no development could take place without public participation.

In Ward 107, which covers Waves Edge, Parklands and Sunningdale, Ms Rheeder said her 2019/20 budget included, among other things, upgrading parks and maintenance of licence plate recognition cameras.

The Echium Park was being upgraded, she said.