Budget bummer for beach huts

Only a portion of the R3 million allocated by the City of Cape Town for the refurbishment of the Muizenberg beach huts will be used for the project.

Less than two thirds of the R3 million the City budgeted to refurbish Muizenberg’s beach huts will actually be spent on the huts themselves.

R1.73 million will be used to spruce up 10 of the 45 huts and a lifeguard tower, while R1.1 million will be used to upgrade surrounding infrastructure, including electrical repairs to the Muizenberg Pavilion, according to mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross.

In January, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis allocated R3 million to the City’s recreation and parks department to restore Muizenberg’s iconic beach huts to their former glory (“City budgets R3 million to save iconic beach huts,” Echo, February 3).

At the time, Beach Hut Trust chairwoman Angela Gorman, who started the project in 2020 to restore the huts, said the announcement came as “a complete surprise” and “she had not stopped smiling since”.

However, she has since expressed her disappointment at the actual budget breakdown for the project.

“While the Beach Hut Trust is very excited about the commitment the City has made so far, we are disappointed that the full fund allocation will not be used directly for the huts,” she said.

Six double huts and two single huts at Surfer’s Corner and two single huts on the beach side will be restored, according to Ms Van der Ross. They were dilapidated and would need both aesthetic and structural repairs, she said.

It would cost an estimated R343 000 to refurbish the lifeguard tower, and, at the pavilion, damaged electrical components on the walkway and underground needed to be replaced, she said.

Ms Van der Ross said the Beach Hut Trust had helped to raise both money and awareness for the project, and there was “an ongoing working relationship” between the trust and the recreation and parks department.

Ms Gorman said she was aware of the many other needs of the area to make the beach accessible and safe, and the costs breakdown showed there was a continued need to raise funds to save the iconic huts that promoted tourism and, in turn, created jobs.

“The trust is committed to the long-term sustainability of the beach-huts infrastructure and supports any projects that improve the space and the beach-hut experience as a whole,” she said.

Ms Van der Ross said the project did not include the St James beach huts and a separate process was being followed for their refurbishment.

To find out more about the Beach Hut Trust, visit beachhuts.org.za