R40m for Blouberg beachfront revamp

Underground piping exposed, on the beachfront. PICTURE: PIETER JANSEN VAN VUUREN: FACEBOOK

It will cost more than R40 million and take five years to “repair” the Blouberg beachfront, says the City of Cape Town.

Residents and beachgoers say the work is long overdue, but according to the City a budget has yet to be allocated.

Last month, resident Ann Edwards Bührer posted pictures on the Greater Table View Action Forum (GTAF) Facebook page showing a beachfront in distress: broken pavements and boardwalks, exposed underground piping, toppled bins and concrete pillars and sand erosion were all a far cry from the postcard image many visitors to the city expect to see.

Those pictures sparked a discussion about what needs to be done to fix the broken Blouberg beachfront and the possible role residents could play in such a campaign.

Hendrik Lamprecht, of Sunningdale, suggested residents withhold rates from the City and instead pay them into a trust fund to ensure the money was spent on improving their community.

“Use a portion of that to repair our beachfront from Sunset Beach till the boundary of Koeberg. And not cosmetic repair as that we have seen over the last couple of years. Get engineers out of the community to find a permanent solution and spend our own money on our own community.”

Stephan Twine said, “Sadly the process to repair this (the beachfront) and get it permanently fixed is flawed with different departments needing to get together to resolve it. Due to the corruption of the people that tender for these repairs (whereby they charge the government departments as much as four times the going rate), there is sadly not enough money in our ward councillors’ tiny budgets to do everything (mainly because 70% of our area rates goes to the poorer communities that the DA feel we won’t mind or object to a portion of it going there). But we do object if it affects our community.”

Area north Mayco member Suzette Little said the City was aware of the state of the beachfront and the repairs would need the involvement of several departments.”A key matter that requires addressing is the repair and upgrade of the stormwater system to improve the management of the rain run-off which is eroding the dune cordon and exposing infrastructure.

“The City has estimated that R40 million is required over the next five years. This does not include the repair and maintenance of the stormwater management system which the City is currently busy costing,” she said.

The R40 million would be for restoration and stabilisation of the dune system and sand movement between Dolphin Beach and the Blouberg entrance. It would also be used to fix the pavements and boardwalks. However, Ms Little said that while requests had been made to do the work, no budget had been allocated for the restoration and stabilisation of the dune system.

Ward 107 councillor Nicky Rheeder said a small part of the beach fell under her ward but if rehabilitation happened, it would have to be done along the entire stretch of beachfront.

“The beachfront needs over
R35 million for restoration and stabilisation of the dune system and sand movement between Dolphin Beach and the Blouberg entrance. We then also need to ensure we have a maintenance budget thereafter or else we will just be back at square one in a few short years after rehabilitation.

“Our ward allocation is only R850 000 and therefore not even a drop in the bucket of what is needed. The ward allocation was allocated to the beachfront, but I did, however, allocate some of the funding to upgrade the stormwater outlet,” she said.

GTAF chairwoman Karen Davis said the beachfront had been a problem for a while and would need more than a quick fix because nature was reclaiming what had been taken from her.

“I believe that as a prime tourist destination and the one place that the most iconic photos of Table Mountain are taken from, this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Tourism brings in millions in revenue to our local economy, and we cannot afford to forego that,” she said.

According to Ms Little, a dune rehabilitation plan for the area had been completed and the City was discussing maintenance of the stormwater system.