Restoration of wooden bridge

Michele Olleac, Bloubergstrand

I am a French part-time resident in Bloubergstrand, and every week, I read very carefully and with great interest all articles, news and letters concerning the area.

I followed all comments referring to the old wooden bridge (“Bridge passes another hurdle,” Tabletalk, March 8) and at once I agree and disagree with the letters and comments.

Of course R30 million is a huge amount of money that can and must be used for other purposes, and as someone wrote, “it would be immoral when many Capetonians don’t have even basic amenities”, but, on the other hand, it is really a shame to see a piece of historical patrimony destroyed and disappeared.

I have a suggestion: why not seek aid from volunteers interested in restoring and refurbishing some forgotten heritage sites and buildings. In France, these volunteers form associations that organise work camps for people who wish to help with restoration. One of France’s well-known restorations is “Rempart” (www.rempart.com). Usually they are volunteer architects, craftsmen with different specialities, and also a lot of students in architecture or other subjects who take the opportunity of long summer school and universities holidays to get involved in these projects.

And there are also other students that follow a dual apprenticeship training in age-old professions such as stonemasons, brick and stone layers, carpenters, woodworkers, boilermakers – 29 different training programmes are possible.

At the end of their studies, they have to create an original artwork, and visiting old heritage sites can help them.

I am sure here in South Africa there are many people who feel concerned about their historical patrimony and are ready to help to keep it alive.