City has coins for fountain

2017-11-07 06:00

The tender to restore a memorial to one of Cape Town’s most well-loved archdeacons has been put out to the public.

The Lightfoot Memorial Fountain stands in honour of Archdeacon Thomas Lightfoot (1831–1904), a missionary and well-respected resident of early Cape Town, who was renowned for his work with the poor.

He worked with all races and cultural groups across the city. Following his death, a memorial in the shape of a drinking fountain was unveiled in his honour in Trafalgar Place.

The 3m-high fountain is made almost entirely of rare red Verona marble and is a copy of one in the market place in Verona, Italy created in the 14th century.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant applied to have the fountain refurbished and moved to the Company’s Garden (“Vandalised memorial to be moved”, People’s Post, 9 December 2014).

Bryant proposed that its location was not as suitable as when the fountain was first installed, as there was no longer a working water source and foot traffic around the memorial had decreased significantly.

However, an investigation by City officials found the statue had a significant heritage link to the Adderley Street flower sellers and it was recommended that the fountain remain at the site after it is restored (“Fountain stays in Adderley St”, People’s Post, 23 February 2016).

The deadline for tender is next week, says Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

“Obviously with the project being out to tender, it is not appropriate to discuss the City’s budget, but sufficient provision has been made to stabilise the memorial and prevent further deterioration. There is also provision for some art and displays. But taking into account the City’s drought crisis, frugality is required. As such, it will not be possible to restore the memorial to its former pristine condition with working plumbing and water fountains,” he says.

The renovation is expected to take around 18 months, Herron says.

“We are aiming to have a contractor on site within the first quarter of next year. One must be mindful that a project of this nature cannot be rushed – we are planning to work closely with the flower sellers to develop the art project. It is, after all, a work of art we are restoring, not infrastructure, and our approach should be adapted accordingly,” he says.

Bryant adds: “It is very exciting to see the long-awaited renovation. Lightfoot was a true hero of the downtrodden in early Cape Town.”

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