A Nypels, Muizenberg
Yesterday morning I had a swim in the public tidal pool at the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay.
I got disgusted by the fact that the place is more and more commercialised and misused by the nearby Brass Bell Inn, making the place almost impossible to use for the goal it was originally built for: offering a free, recreational and public swimming occasion for the people of Kalk Bay. Not much is left of that.
Now the Brass Bell has built a permanent roof over their terrace boarding at the pool, and by doing that they have made the place even more occupied by them, than before. But it is not only that: when I had my visit I found dangerous broken glass, cigarette butts, and vomit at the gangway leading to the pool, making my access almost impossible.
This dirt is of course coming from clients of the Brass Bell and not left by pool visitors. I requested a person working at the Brass Bell to clean up the mess urgently, and he replied it would be done in 10 minutes, but two hours later, when I left, nothing had been done about it.
So the sides of the pool are used by Brass Bell clients as a smoking, drinking and vomiting area, and they leave broken glass and other waste, and the Brass Bell doesn’t do anything adequate to prevent that, in order to respect the pools.
In general the pools have been so much changed in character that it doesn’t fit anymore in the plan which it was designed for.
It is not a family pool anymore, and what parent will send their kids to go to a place where drinking and making loud vulgar noises is so overwhelmingly present as here during the day? The result is that the people of Kalk Bay will increasingly not go here anymore and the kids will go to the the already overcrowded Dalebrooke pool.
A once fine, popular, attractive and vital recreational area has been stolen away from the ordinary people of Kalk Bay, just to serve the moneymaking of the Brass Bell.
* Tony White, Brass Bell, responds:
I first became involved with the Brass Bell in 1976. Since then I have observed the kiddies pool and beach almost every day.
From 1976 until 2012 the kiddies pool and beach area was a cess pit.
The pool was never used and the outlet valve was broken, the sand was dirty, dark brown, strewn with litter. People seldom if ever used the beach. At one stage a homeless family lived on the beach for several months. The community took no interest whatsoever in this historic kiddies pool area.
Certainly, the kiddies pool was no asset to Kalk Bay.
In 2012 the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) leased the area to the Brass Bell. Since then the Brass Bell has invested almost R1 million in the area.
Three kitchens, two toilets and two decks on either side of the kiddies pool have been built. The historic kiddies pool is filled with fresh seawater at least twice a week and is now used by frolicking children while their parents have lunch in this amazing setting.
Tens of thousands of patrons enjoy the area every year, bringing tourists to Kalk Bay.
The “Beach at the Bell” is now an amenity for tourists and locals alike.
This hugely successful facility also provides dozens of employment opportunities as well as income tax and VAT to the fiscus. Brass Bell staff are tasked with keeping clean this public amenity, including the subway. What a wonderful, exciting and profitable transformation.
The latest improvement has been an architect designed wave shaped pergola over one of the decks. A picket fence has also just been erected, which clearly defines the area occupied by the Brass Bell and that surrounding the pools controlled by the City Council.
Many more exciting improvements are planned for the coming year.