Beach parking construction a disaster

Daniel McArthur, Glencairn Heights

I have watched the construction or lack thereof of the parking at our local beach now for what must be over six months.

A perfectly serviceable ablution block and bus station were demolished to make way for the new parking lot, which is taking a painstakingly long time to lay, and, all the while, beach goers (with young children) have to park far away, walk under bridges and navigate rocks, broken train cables and kelp to get to the beach. Please could you ask the contractor what is going on.

It seems as if the workers wander around aimlessly (they do, I have watched them) and are part time as they only seem to be there about once or twice a week.

The Christmas holidays are nearly upon us and the parking lot really isn’t. I don’t think the current contractor is up to the job, and all the residents at our last neighbourhood meeting are, like me, in disbelief at the incompetence and inaction we have seen for far too long. Please could council step in and hire someone more capable than this.

• Ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock responds: I drive past the site every day, and the resident is correct regarding the slow pace of work, and the City’s coastal team and I are equally frustrated.

What you are seeing is a challenge faced by all service departments across the City – contractor selection is done through the legislated supply-chain management process, which contains a number of ideological criteria that prevent the City from selecting the most competent and best qualified vendors. Councillors and operational staff have no influence over the contractor selected and must deal with the problems during the project implementation.

As the ward councillor, all I can do is keep pushing the City’s project-management department to push the contractor and to ensure that contractual obligations and penalties are applied.

I was on site on Wednesday October 13 and the following information was clarified:

1. The contractor is still within the original contract period, which had a practical completion date of October 18, 2021.

2. Due to various legitimate delays (rain, water burst, weather, etc.) this was revised to November 16, 2021.

3. If the contractor does not make this date, he faces a fine of R5000/day.

4. The major work left for this phase is to lay the concrete slabs for the sand trap and the bitumen surface for the parking area. Both of these can be done in two weeks.

The contractor himself did not arrive for the meeting, but telephonically stated that he was confident he would meet the deadline.

I understand that his was the cheapest quote and he received points for being an “emerging” contractor.

In the meantime, those wishing to visit the beach can be directed to Glencairn station where there is plenty of parking which is close to the tidal pool and the completed walkway.