Residents book seat for policy

2015-07-07 06:00
Calls have been made for a policy to regulate memorial benches along Fish Hoek beach and Jager Walk.

PHOTO: 
nicole mccain

Calls have been made for a policy to regulate memorial benches along Fish Hoek beach and Jager Walk. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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As the City Council considers a policy to manage memorials across the city, Fish Hoek residents are hoping for a policy to give memorial benches at the beach a boost.

Cape Town’s naming committee recently recommended the memorialisation policy to mayor Patricia de Lille, aiming to guide future decisions about new memorials and monuments across the city.

However, there is currently no policy which guides the management of private memorials in public spaces, says Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects.

“In the absence of a formal policy, the approach has always been to respond on an individual case-by-case basis,” she says.

MaintenanceThe use of public space for private memorials has raised some questions regarding rights and responsibilities, Walker says.

“The City receives many applications and needs to follow a transparent and equitable process in allowing any memorial structures in public space. The benches require careful maintenance and oversight, both due to vandalism and the effects of being located in the coastal environment and the City cannot accept responsibility for the ongoing costs. And because some sites are very popular, this can lead to a cluttered environment,” she says.

The need for a policy to govern memorial benches along Fish Hoek beach and Jager Walk was highlighted during a site visit by ward councillors and City officials last month. They found a number of benches in need of maintenance, as well as the need for uniformity.

There has already been a call for all families who have installed a bench to register it with the City, subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase says. Although this took place several months ago, not a single registration has been received.

Walker says there is no formal registration process.

She adds that past requests were made , but the sport, recreation and amenities department’s area management office has not received any further communication from the sponsors of these benches to assist with maintenance.

Enjoyment

Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers and Residents’ Association chairperson Allen Rose-Innes says in the early 2000s an “adopt a bench” programme was instituted.

“Money via annual contributions to the ‘adopt a bench’ fund was used for the maintenance and painting of the benches. Unfortunately, this programme had a limited life,” he explains.

The benches are an integral part of Jager Walk, Rose-Innes says.

“They add to the enjoyment of the community and visitors who frequent Jager Walk. We would not like to see benches being removed due to poor maintenance.”

The Association would welcome a policy to manage the memorial benches and other benches along the stretch, Rose-Innes says.

By the time of going to print, the City had not commented on whether the benches would be covered in the policy

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