Lack of funding puts tidal pool repairs on hold

The tidal pool at St James Beach.

Repairs to both St James and Kalk Bay tidal pools are being held back by lack of funding.

Tony Trimmel, of the Kalk Bay and St James Special Rating Area, raised the issue at a Sub-council 19 meeting.

Mr Trimmel said the St James pool was 100 years old but had seen little significant repair in that time.

“The north wall has been compromised due to three distinct courses and was leaking at numerous places at the junction between the base and first course. This causes a lowering of the water level in the pool between high tides,” he said.

Several dressed-sandstone blocks missing from the upper course, which stops bathers being swept into the sea, had a lowered the pool’s water level.

Part of the wall had tilted inwards, hinting at problems with the base of the wall. That and its narrow width made it hard to walk along and potentially dangerous in high tides and strong seas.

The south wall was badly fractured and sagging in places. Its surface, while broader than the north wall, was irregular and sharp in places and could cause stubbed toes and cut feet.

There was also leakage of pool water from its junction with the beach, which had seen a lot of erosion and scouring in the past 30 years.

Mr Trimmel suggested all three walls of the St James Pool needed structural investigation and repair. The north wall should be widened and its missing blocks replaced.

The south wall should be extended onto the beach to stop leakage. Sand could be sourced from Simon’s Town, Clovelly or Muizenberg to replenish the beach.

Mr Trimmel said the north wall of Kalk Bay’s Square Pool exited from a broken section, lowering the low-tide water level in both it and the adjacent Bishop’s Pool. The wall was not high enough above sea level to guarantee bathers’ safety in rough seas.

Structural collapse in the common wall separating the two pools had caused sagging and dangerous current flows in strong seas.

“The shallow end of Bishops Pool is a stagnant backwater where scum, seaweed and litter collect in an ugly uninviting mess,” he said.

The Square Pool’s north wall should be raised 30cm and a major section of the common wall should be removed to create a 40m “lap” pool.

The Bishop’s Pool could be shortened by building a new wall along the alignment of the Square Pool’s splash wall and backfilling behind it to create a slabbed seating or sunbathing area.

He suggested that two sluices be built, one in the north wall and one in the south wall to aid flushing of the pools.

Head of the City’s Recreation and Parks, David Curran, said the department was aware of the concerns, but it was hard to find the money needed for the repairs.