Bell rung on Prasa property

2016-10-04 06:00

Council has called for a fence to be erected around the public space at the Kalk Bay tidal pool and beach, following reports of unauthorised building work taking place at the Brass Bell restaurant.

During a site meeting carried out by ward councillor Aimee Kuhl and community members, it was noted that building works were taking place at the restaurant, which did not have approval from the City of Cape Town.

The property is zoned under transport. A restaurant is permitted in this zone, Kuhl explains, but can trigger departures – not having adequate parking being one.

“The property also falls within the Muizenberg/ St James/ Kalk Bay Heritage Protection Overlay Zone and therefore any work being carried out there will require council’s consent.”

Residents raised their concern in 2012 about the construction of two deck areas around the children’s tidal pool and the installation of a door along a public walkway between the harbour and Main Road.

Permission was reportedly granted by Prasa, who, considering the work to be minimal, was of the opinion that environmental authorisation was not needed, according to media reports at the time.

In February, the provincial environmental affairs and development planning department declared the “case closed” (“Final ‘yes’ for Bell decks”, People’s Post, 16 February).

“Following (the most recent) site meeting and the repeated non-compliance of the Brass Bell to the signed memorandum of understanding, the City has determined that we can no longer operate in a manner that continuously compromises both the integrity of the agreement as well as the right of the public to access their coastal amenities,” Kuhl says.

“Access to our beaches for all members of the public is historically important for all the residents of the Deep South and especially the community of Kalk Bay.”

Brass Bell owner Tony White says the building works are to replace the roof over the “water’s edge section of the Brass Bell as it was damaged beyond repair”.

“The City council planning department does not have jurisdiction over state property owned by Prasa, my landlord, and therefore the City will not accept plans for approval,” says White.

“I feel that this issue has been blown completely out of proportion because I had a few benches on the beach area. These benches had to be removed because of the roof repairs and could not be accommodated anywhere else. I thought that any reasonable person would accept this arrangement, especially as no-one has been negatively impacted.

“It has been cold and rainy with nobody using the beach during the relatively short period that the repairs are being done.”

The City is now calling on Prasa to fence the public area to prevent alcohol or commercial activity, at their own cost as a matter of urgency – before Saturday 15 October.

In addition, all infrastructure and attachments from the tidal pool are to be removed.

“In the event that Prasa objects, the City will proceed to table a formal decision at council to publically withdraw the memorandum of understanding due to repeated non-compliance and proceed with legal action to ensure the right as stipulated in the Integrated Coastal Management Act to access both the coastline and public amenities is assured and guaranteed in a manner that cannot be continuously compromised,” Kuhl says.

The demand for fencing was addressed to Prasa, White says, and remains their responsibility “to make a decision on it”.

White has responded by lambasting the City for being “anti-business” and not taking into account repairs he has carried out to the children’s pool at his own expense as well as attempts to have parking signs restored along Main Road.

Prasa had not responded at the time of going to print.

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