Stairway to the city

2015-06-16 06:01
De Waterkant Civic Association chairperson Ian Mcmahon and Green Point Improvement District CEO Marc Truss (front right) officially open the De Smidt steps with ward councillor Dave Bryant and subcouncil chairperson Demetri Qually.

PHOTO: 
nicole

De Waterkant Civic Association chairperson Ian Mcmahon and Green Point Improvement District CEO Marc Truss (front right) officially open the De Smidt steps with ward councillor Dave Bryant and subcouncil chairperson Demetri Qually. PHOTO: nicole

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After years of renovations, and several delays, the De Smidt Street steps have been officially opened.

Renovations to the steps, which run between Loader Street and Waterkant Street, were recently completed to the tune of over R1m.

Last year, the contractor renovating the stairs stopped construction after going into liquidation and a new contractor had to be appointed after another tender process.

The original steps posed a major safety risk for the pedestrians and residents in the area. The exact age of the structure is uncertain, but it is accepted that it was built in the late 19th century.

The steps have heritage value and the rehabilitation had to conform to aesthetic specifications laid out by Heritage Western Cape.Step up to gangplank

The steps used to act as a walkway to the harbour for ship merchants, says De Waterkant Civic Association chairperson Ian Mcmahon.

Ship owners who lived about the steps in De Waterkant would watch for the ships to come into the harbour from their homes. Once they had docked, the merchants would use the steps and the main access point to the harbour, Mcmahon explains.

The Green Point Improvement District will soon be reinstalling lighting around the steps too, says CEO Marc Truss.

“We will be redoing the lighting around the steps shortly to ensure that they are well lit and can be used at any hour. We will also continue our regular patrols in the area, paying particular attention to the steps, now that they will be used by pedestrians,” he says

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