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Big Bay walkway restored

Big Bay residents applauded the City of Cape Town after the walkway between Big Bay and the De Mist parking area has been restored.

This after the stretch of coastline was severely impacted by a major storm in June 2017, resulting in the existing gabion wall becoming unstable in sections.

Storms in April and August 2019 significantly worsened the situation and led to the complete structural failure of the gabion wall.

The stretch of coastline south of Big Bay up to the northern end of Small Bay was defended for more than 30 years by the gabion wall.

A resident, Charles Hammon, said he took his dog for a walk on the walkway almostevery morning for over 20 years.

“Since the walkway could no longer be used, I went to walk on the beach. However, with Covid-19 lockdown regulations, even that was not allowed. I had to resort to daily exercises for myself and my dog around the house. I’m just glad the walkway has been opened,” Hammon said.

Other residents took to social media, expressing their gratitude and posting photos of their walks on the walkway.

Marian Nieuwoudt, the City’s Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, said the imminent collapse of the entire embankment, including the public walkway and a 150mm municipal sewer, posed a risk to public health and safety.

“It was impossible to do repair work,given the structural condition of the existing gabion structure. Due to the urgent nature of the repairs, conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or even a basic assessment was not feasible. As a result, an emergency defence structure was designed to fit on the existing footprint of the collap­sing gabion wall,” Nieuwoudt said.

She added that the construction commenced in May after the lifting of level 5 lockdown restrictions, and was completed within three months.

“A number of options for the new structure were considered and evaluated based on criteria such as relative cost, time frame and durability. Given the project constraints, a new geo-container revetment (large sandbag, specially designed for the marine environment) was selected as the most feasible,” Nieuwoudt explained.

The new structure was designed to last at least five years to allow for planning and implementation of a long-term solution.

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