Mixed reactions to beachfront upgrade

An illustration of the proposed stepped revetment and paved parking lot.

The City’s proposed upgrade to the Muizenberg beachfront has drawn a mixed response from the public.

The project, currently in the concept design phase, is proposed for the Surfers Corner, on the western part of the beachfront along Beach Road in Muizenberg.

The affected area includes the connection to the St James walkway, Surfers Corner steps, the main promenade area and the western and eastern parking area.

On Wednesday September 7, the City held an open day at the Muizenberg civic centre to answer any questions residents might have and present two proposed designs.

The only real difference between the two is the site of the public toilets and NGO buildings. With both options, the existing toilet building will be demolished to create a continuous sea defence structure along the beachfront.

However with option A, new public toilets and beach showers will be built landward between the existing Waves for Change, and Shark Spotters buildings.

Option B sees the public toilets and change rooms moved into buildings occupied by Waves for Change and Shark Spotters. The two NGOs will be relocated to a new building along the railway line for this option. Additional public toilets and storage will be provided.

It is expected that the project will begin in November 2024 and be completed by September 2026.

The proposed upgrades will take place at Surfers Corner, on the western part of the beachfront along Beach Road in Muizenberg.

Cassiem Collier, owner of the Cass Collier Surf Academy, believes the proposed upgrades are a good idea, given the high traffic congestion in the area.

“The upgrades will hopefully result in more transformation and ownership on the beachfront and in Muizenberg as a whole. In conjunction with Muizenberg’s growth, surfing will grow as well, which will benefit my business and other local businesses,” Mr Collier said.

But keeping Muizenberg clean would become more of a challenge, he added.

“As a surfer and a lover of the ocean, we all need to play our part. As our coastal communities modernise, we as people must respect the past, present and future.”

Resident David Robert Lewis said he supported the landscaping and car park extension but not the destruction of the historic building housing the public toilets.

“Construction of an extra public toilet inside the car park is fine by me,” Mr Lewis said.

Another resident, Jaques Pienaar, said he didn’t think a paved parking lot on the beachfront would do it any good.

“Get proper designers to put forward better and more innovative designs. We need to preserve the essence of Muizenberg Beach and incorporate green elements while making the area more functional and uplifting,” Mr Pienaar said.

David Chudleigh, the co-founder of Surf Shack, said the development needed to respect nature and the area’s history and character.

“My biggest concerns are the change in the shape of the gravel parking area and the impact on the beach and the disregard or lack of understanding for how the beach is used and the effect of the wind on the beachfront.

“The developers need to learn from what worked in the past, what was changed and no longer works and what is needed now versus what is assumed is needed. Actual impact versus assumed impact,” Mr Chudleigh said.

In a statement, mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews said he looked forward to reviewing the proposed upgrade designs.

“Although we are in the initial phase of the project, it is important that we get the input from the community now, while we are still finalising the concept design,” he said.

The public has until Monday September 26 to comment by contacting Tarryn Solomon at 021 834 1602 079 or comments@infinityenv.co.za

With option A, new public toilets and beach showers will be built landward between the existing Waves for Change, and Shark Spotters buildings.
Option B sees the existing public toilets and change rooms moved into buildings occupied by Waves for Change and Shark Spotters