Coastline buildings to be demolished

The Sonwabe Beach ablution facilities are derelict and will be demolished soon.

Several derelict buildings along Cape Town’s coastline, deemed beyond repair and unsafe by the City, have been earmarked for demolition.

In the far south, the Sonwabe Beach, Baden Powell and Frank’s Bay ablution facilities are on the list.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said the decision to demolish the buildings followed a thorough assessments that had found them to be beyond repair and a risk to public safety.

He said the ablution facilities – generally toilets, showers and basins – had not served any purpose for many years due to vandalism and exposure to the elements.

Demolition, he said, would happen over a two-year period from July this year till June 2021.

He said it was important for City resources to remain functional and that those facilities were properly maintained.

There is, however, no guarantee that the facilities once gone will be replaced.

According to the City’s website, Sonwabe beach is a 200-metre stretch of sandy shore in Muizenberg with parking for 100 vehicles.

There were several cars in the lot on Saturday March 23, when the Echo visited the site.

Families were sitting in camping chairs with cooler boxes while children played on the beach.

Mary-Ann Franke, from Steenberg, said she and her family often went there to relax. She said it was sad that the facilities were not looked after and as a result could not be used.

Asked what they did when they needed to use the toilet, she replied: “We keep it in.”

Farland Davids, from Mitchell’s Plain, said he had been to the beach a few times and some of his friends fished along the coastline. He said he never stayed long. However, he said it would be nice to have clean and functional ablution facilities.

He said there should be no question about replacing the facilities.

“All beaches should have ablution facilities,” he said.

Frank’s Bay Beach is one of the smaller and quieter beaches
of Simon’s Town and used for activities like swimming, paddle sports, picnicking and penguin viewing.

Simon’s Town Business Association chairperson, Liesel Coetzer, said the executive committee members agreed that derelict structures should be demolished if it was impossible to restore them.

They often posed a health, safety and security risk, she said, and the question had to be asked how they got into such a bad state in the first place.

“Our more popular beaches need ablution facilities, but these should be maintained, cleaned and serviced daily to prevent disrepair,” she said.

Roger Bagshaw, from the Simon’s Town Civic Association, said the buildings were best demolished. However, he said, there were areas where new facilities were needed.

“We must identify these areas and badger our councillor to get them into the City’s budget without delay.

“We must also ensure that any remaining facilities are not allowed to fall into disrepair,” he said.

For more information about the process, contact Natalie Newman at the Coastal Management Branch at 021 4872123 or email natalie.