Thumbs up for wall upgrade

The move by the City of Cape Town to upgrade the 100-year old sea wall along the Promenade has been largely welcomed by stakeholders

The City of Cape Town say they will start phase two of the rehabilitation of the 100-year-old sea wall along the Mouille Point and Sea Point Promenade to preserve one of Cape Town’s most visited public spaces.

In a statement released last week, the City said the upgrade was needed due to the age of the sea wall and that a major sea wall and promenade rehabilitation project had been launched in 2012.

The move has been supported by local ratepayers’ associations in the area.

The City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said the first phase of the refurbishment of the sea wall and the promenade between Three Anchor Bay and the Mouille Point lighthouse was completed in 2015. “The second phase commenced in the latter part of 2015 – the first stage of this contract entails the section between the Mouille Point lighthouse and the natural beach at Granger Bay, which is currently under construction with a section recently having been opened for public use,” he added.

Phase two of the upgrade of the sea wall is expected to cost the City R32 million. According to the City, the phase two contract entails the sections of the sea wall on either side of Rocklands Bay which are now nearly 100 years old.

“The protective granite facing used along these sections has deteriorated over time, exposing the wall to heavy ocean swells. The rehabilitation works will add at least another 50 years to the wall’s life cycle. The purpose of the works is to strengthen the sea wall, to extend its longevity, and to improve the overall aesthetics by getting rid of the patchwork of the emergency repairs that were carried out over the years.

“The purpose of the sea wall is to protect the promenade, the public open spaces adjacent to the sea wall, and the private properties in this area from tidal surges and flooding during storms.

“This investment in the rehabilitation of the sea wall is therefore pivotal in ensuring the safety of public and private property in the years to come,” said Mr Herron.

These sections of the sea wall cover a distance of 340m between the Fort and Hall Road intersections with Beach Road. The promenade adjacent to Rocklands Bay will also be upgraded with new paving to replace the current surface which has deteriorated over time.

The public will not have access to the affected sections of the sea wall along Rocklands Bay and the adjacent promenade for the duration of the construction work.

Mr Herron added that work along this section is expected to be completed by April next year.

Jane Meyer, of the Mouille Point Ratepayers’ Association, said the move to upgrade the sea wall made sense as it has not been upgraded in recent years. “The experts predict much rougher seas and weather conditions in future so the sea wall needs to be repaired in order to protect roads, infrastructure and properties along this coast,” she said, adding that it was vital to protect one of Cape Town’s most popular public spaces.

Ms Meyer said the association would like to see the City make use of natural water resources as part of the upgrade to the Promenade and surrounds. “We would like the City to extend the pipes that supply the mountain run-off water to the Urban Park and Shared Common Fields to the Promenade. This fresh mountain water that runs into the ocean could easily be diverted to water the Promenade. Perhaps it could also be tapped into at various places from the source and used to fill up reservoirs and dams, water the Company Gardens etc.”

The City’s Mayco member for Area North, Suzette Little, added: “People from all walks of life visit the Promenade each week, be it to stroll with their dogs, cycle, jog, rollerblade, or play in the parks with their children. This public space is also a magnet for the tourists who flock to Cape Town and it is our responsibility to ensure that it meets the expectations of the locals and visitors alike. We are looking forward to getting the refurbishment done.”

Ward councillor for the area, Dave Bryant said the beachfront and Promenade was used by people from across the City as well as tourists. “It is essential that we continue to maintain and improve it in line with our status as a leading international city.

“Most of the area will still be accessible for the general public during construction but I would encourage anyone using the space to exercise caution and common sense and not to enter any areas where construction is under way. I will be working hard over the next five years to ensure that my portion of the Promenade in Mouille Point and Three Anchor Bay is kept up to as high a standard as possible. I have already initiated a project to neaten up and re-purpose the old maze and I met recently with officials to plan the next phase of the temporary art installations,” he said.