- St James beach is set for a massive upgrade.
- Among the planned improvements is the rebuilding of the colourful beach huts.
- The total revamp project is set to cost R2.4 million.
The City of Cape Town will fork out R2.4 million to revamp the St James beachfront, including the iconic colourful beach bathing boxes.
Earlier this month, the city announced that plans to remove the old green, blue, yellow and red bathing boxes and replace them with new ones were well in motion. It also said that the beach area itself will be improved with a widened walkway and a picnic area for visitors.
Deputy Mayor and mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Eddie Andrews said the huts were "derelict beyond repair", some had been burnt and others vandalised.
"[The] new boxes are already being installed; currently, the foundations are being constructed. [The huts were removed] earlier in October, and new ones will be in place by the end of November if all goes as planned. Thus, the turnaround time is very short," Andrews said.
He said that the total cost to revamp the beachfront would cost R2.4 million.
"We will also improve the walkway and seating area so that visitors can use this space for picnicking. I'm asking residents and visitors to please be patient while the project is under way and to avoid the areas where work is happening," said Andrews.
What the project entails
The City will remove the derelict bathing boxes and replace nine during the first phase, and two or three more in the next financial year.
The walkway will be widened by 0.5m between the first set of steps and the second set of steps close to the ablutions. Once done, it will be 1.9m wide to comfortably accommodate more pedestrians, or to be used as seating.
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The section of the walkway between the ablutions and the seaward point will be widened to 2.8m and the area will be accessible for wheelchairs and prams.
A seating wall and a sitting step will be added along the seaward edge to provide a stepped seating area with views of the beach, tidal pool and Simon's Town.
The picnic area will be upgraded by adding topsoil and new grass.
The area between the ablutions and seaward point will no longer have bathing boxes, improving the view toward Simon's Town and providing more space for recreational users.
The entrance area will be improved with the surfacing of untidy sections.
The shower facilities will be improved by shifting it to a new concrete slab off the beach.
According to the City, they have engaged the local ratepayers' association and other residents who indicated their support for the project.
Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl said the ratepayers associations of Kalk Bay and St James were consulted.
The huts were well-loved by locals and internationals alike and formed a key part of the coastal cultural heritage of her ward, Kuhl added.
"We are excited about these improvements that will benefit the community and visitors to this iconic beach. This is a welcome and much-needed effort to maintain and improve the St James beach to ensure it remains an attractive destination for locals and tourists," she said.