City starts R6m second phase of beach hut revamp

The second phase of a project to refurbish the Muizenberg Beach huts is under way. Pictured are the bases for the huts that have already been weather-proofed and treated with creosote before the new huts are built.

Muizenberg’s iconic beach huts are continuing to get a new lease on life as a refurbishment project moves into its second phase.

After renovating the huts at Surfer’s Corner, the City’s recreation and parks department has now started sprucing up the huts on the eastern side of Muizenberg Beach at a cost of R5.9 million.

By the end of November, 26 double huts and 10 single huts would be renovated, the City said in a statement.

The scope of work includes replacing ground-floor joists, timber bearers, and roof rafters with treated timber, reconstructing the timber staircases, and installing concrete bases for the staircase posts.

The work also involves replacing side-wall panels and roof coverings with Nutec cladding, reconstructing timber seating benches inside the huts, and replacing timber floorboards and doors.

All steel bolted connections will be replaced with hot-dipped galvanised bolts and plates. The project includes wood treatment for all timber members and repainting the side cladding and roof covering.

Beach Hut Trust chairwoman Angela Gorman has welcomed the restoration work.

The trust has pledged to maintain and protect the huts once the restoration work is done.

“Any damage, any vandalism, anything that happens to them, it falls on the Beach Hut Trust to fix it up. Our current goal is to fund-raise so that we can keep them all looking pristine,” she said.

Ms Gorman plans to convert one of the huts into an office during the peak holiday season from November to March next year.

“We’ll sell beach-hut-themed trinkets, beach bags and maybe some T-shirts.”

It will also be possible to book huts from the office since someone will be stationed there permanently during peak season. While most of the huts will remain open for public use, a limited number can also be booked for private use, with a daily charge of R150 come November.

“Whether you want one for a party or a cosy place for older family members, out of the sun, you can look into renting a beach hut,” said Ms Gorman.

The Beach Hut Trust plans to use salvaged wood from demolished huts for creative projects.

“We will use this wood to create various items for sale. It’s the last wood from a beach hut as future huts will be made with Nutec cladding,” Ms Gorman said.

Last year, they crafted Christmas trees from the wood, and this year, they plan to make picture frames for artists.

“Artists can select their preferred design, and we will create a frame to match it. These framed artworks will be auctioned, with proceeds benefiting the beaches and the artists. Any interested artists are welcome to approach us for collaboration.”

In a statement, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, said the partnership with Friends of Muizenberg Huts, previously Save Our Beach Huts, was a joint effort to preserve a symbol of tourism and a key part of Muizenberg’s heritage.

“Through thoughtful design, we will ensure that these iconic huts continue to be a symbol of the area’s charm and character for generations to come.

“We look forward to working closely with the community and stakeholders throughout this project to create a vibrant and sustainable beachfront destination for locals and visitors alike.”

Mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross said: “Once this project is completed, all of the beach huts on Muizenberg Beach will be fully refurbished. I want to appeal to the public at large to help us preserve these iconic structures that help make the Cape Town coastline so unique, by using them with care, and helping to protect them.”

Salvaged wood is being stripped of rusty nails and fasteners and sorted into bundles for storage. The wood will be used to make picture frames that will be sold to raise funds for the upkeep of the huts.