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Demo time along the coast

HELDERBERG – The long-awaited demolition of the Deep Blue and Mostert’s Bay ablution facilities along Strand Beach, and the derelict structures which once comprised Macassar Pavilion is expected to commence next week.

The destruction of the buildings, which forms part of the City of Cape Town’s detailed planning for the repair and refurbishment of its coastal assets along the Atlantic and False Bay coastlines, was scheduled to commence in March, but was placed on ice due to the implementation of the nationwide lockdown. On Tuesday (12 May) the municipality announced the first phase of the action will proceed next Monday (18 May).

“Now that we are on Level 4 and the regulations have been eased to allow for civil engineering for public works, the City’s Coastal Management Branch will commence this programme in all earnestness,” Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee member for Spatial Planning and Environment, said.

The demolitions are expected to be completed by the end of June.

The buildings set to be demolished in Phase 1 of the project are located along the coast at Strand, Macassar, Monwabisi, Sonwabe, Simon’s Town, Witsand and Table View. The facilities along Strand’s Beach Road to be demolished are the ablution facilities at Mostert’s Bay and Deep Blue, while the entire Macassar Pavilion, its ablution facility, security kiosk and lifeguard clubhouse will be torn down.

DistrictMail recently reported on the fond memories of a Macassar resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, at the seaside facility (“Pavilion will soon be no more”, 26 March).

The community member recalled how many families rejoiced when the facility was built and opened, and said he would rather have seen the pavilion revived. He believes the latter would have been possible if the City had acted sooner and focused on fighting the encroachment and stemming the deterioration.

Over the years the situation at Deep Blue also made DistrictMail headlines, several residents calling for the demolition of what they called an “eyesore” on the Strand shore (“Deep Blue might be demolished”, 26 November 2009). Most recently, the newspaper reported on a local restaurateur’s bid to the City to refurbish the facility into an upmarket restaurant and club with various other facilities (“Bright future beckons for Deep Blue”, 6 December 2018).

However, this application was rejected by the City, who cited that “the subject property is encumbered in a number of ways, rendering it unfeasible for redevelopment” as the reason for the bid’s rejection (“Deep Blue offer sunk by officials”, DistrictMail, 4 April 2019).

“The City-owned facilities we identified for demolition have not been used for several years,” Nieuwoudt explained. “They are structurally unsafe and damaged, and will cost the City nearly R170 million to replace.

“Also, many of these facilities were built in highly mobile dune systems and are covered by sand. They blemish our beautiful coastline and their removal is part of the City’s strategy to reduce the impact of climate change on coastal infrastructure by removing buildings from sensitive and dynamic coastal zones.”

During the demolition period the affected areas will be closed to the public and all waste removed to a licensed disposal site. The appointed contractors will also implement strict Covid-19 measures as well as health and safety protocols.

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