New look for bathing boxes, lifeguard tower

2018-02-06 06:00

Some bathing boxes and the lifeguard tower at Muizenberg Beach have been given a facelift.

Emergency repairs and painting of the beach huts and lifeguard tower commenced early in December, says Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith.

The work was completed by 20 December, with a few snags attended to in January, he adds.

While the beach huts were only painted and the internal walls whitewashed, extensive work was carried out on the lifeguard tower.

“The lifeguard tower’s sides were removed and reconstructed off site before being replaced, as the tower had started tilting forward and was deemed unsafe. The tower was also repainted,” he says.

The doors on the bathing boxes were not replaced, as part of a strategy to deter illegal activities.

The bathing boxes became a bone of contention last year, when it was proposed that some be removed, with over 1000 concerned residents signing a petition against the removal of huts.

A social media outcry began after residents were informed that some of the huts would be removed as they were derelict and a safety risk.

The petition called for an “immediate cessation of the removal plans” as the huts are part of local heritage. The petition also called for a “broad plan to address the maintenance of the beach huts and the social ills affecting the area holistically” as well as “thorough consultation with the community” (“Storm over beach huts”, People’s Post, 8 August 2017).

Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl called for a formal process to address residents’ concerns over the removal of beach huts at Muizenberg Beach (“Beach hut outcry to be heard ‘formally’,” 22 August), which saw City of Cape Town officials propose that around a third of the bathing boxes be removed to improve the condition of the remaining huts.

The proposal presented at the subcouncil meeting follows a series of public engagements with local residents and stakeholders, officials at the meeting ­explained.

They estimated that the cost to refurbish all the bathing boxes would be in excess of R800 000.

Smith adds that during the renovation, three huts close to the river mouth were dismantled entirely.

“While the City recognises that the beach huts have heritage value and are an attractive feature of the beach, ongoing vandalism is a problem. Additional security has been hired to patrol the area and, in future, the huts will form part of the deployment footprint of the City’s Facility Protection Officer Initiative.”

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