The City has deployed dump trucks, bulldozers and excavators to Fish Hoek and Glencairn beaches to rebuild the dunes.
The dunes screen nearby roads, parking lots and other infrastructure from windblown sand and storm surges, but with their deterioration, they have lost this ability, says mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews.
“The intention is to restore the dunes so that they can once again serve as natural buffers against storm surges and the longer-term projected impacts of sea-level rise. When fully functional, these systems – in this case the dunes – help to create quality coastal spaces for all of us,” he said.
The dune rehabilitation project in Fish Hoek will cover a 950-metre stretch of dunes from the Fish Hoek lighthouse to Clovelly corner, covering about 4.5 hectares, which will be vegetated with more than 82 000 plants.
About 40 000m³ of sand will be moved, of which 9,571m³ will be returned to the ocean, and 6.5km of wind netting will be installed as part of the re-shaping process.
In Glencairn, a smaller dune on the beach opposite the recently upgraded parking area will be re-profiled. The process involves moving 3 400m³ of sand, of which 800m³ will be returned to the ocean.
A total of 4 500m2 will be vegetated with 20 900 plants; 1000 plants will be rescued for re-use on site. Additionally, 250 bales of straw will be utilised to stabilise the newly profiled dune.
Once the bulldozers, excavators and dump trucks had re-profiled the dunes, the areas would be fenced off and project teams would install wind nets and populate the dunes with plants and irrigation systems, Mr Andrews said.
“It will take a while for the vegetation to be established. But once done, the vegetated dunes will help to trap the sand on the beachfront, and prevent it from blowing onto roads and adjacent buildings on windy days,” he said.
Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl said: “The dunes serve as a natural barrier between the sea and the urban environment in a storm event and, in the long run, against sea-level rise. The City is committed to keeping our coast pristine, and, as councillor, I am equally dedicated to protecting our natural heritage.”
Mr Andrews said the beaches would remain accessible to the public but some parts would be fenced off while work was under way.
“There may be some noise while the machinery is working, but the parking areas will be fully accessible to the public. I want to request beachgoers to please avoid the work areas, to keep dogs on a lead, and to stay clear of the dunes to allow the plants time to get established,” he said.
The project is scheduled to run until June 2024, weather permitting, with work taking place from Monday to Friday between 7am and 5pm.