Film crews on beach raise concerns for fisherfolk

Fisherfolk Lance Jacobs, Eric Steenkamp, both from Strandfontein, and Arthur Reisenberg, from Retreat.

The City of Cape Town has confirmed that a site inspection would be done after a film set constructed in the parking off the so-called Broken Road in Strandfontein is removed.

Fisherfolk have raised concerns about the building of the set, which involved the digging of trenches as well as putting up of fences and towers to create a naval base.

They said they feared for the destruction of the dunes and were also angry that they were not allowed to fish during filming.

Richard Bosman, executive director for Safety and Security, said the film company was responsible for repairing any damage resulting from the film shoot.

“Inspections were done before and during the film shoot. At the conclusion of the film shoot, further inspections will be done by the City beach co-ordinators,” he said.

Mr Bosman was responding to a media enquiry, from the Plainsman, after Strandfontein Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association sent the City an email and posted on Facebook that the “movie industry” was allowed to things on the coast, which fisherfolk could not.

About a month ago Moonlighting Films constructed the set in the parking area off Broken Road.

Last week fisherfolk were barred from using their usual access point and spotted that holes had been drilled in the parking lot.

On Monday January 20 and Tuesday January 21 the film crew was on site and on Wednesday January 22 they were clearing the set.

Fisherman Arthur Reisenberg, from Retreat, said during construction of the set they did not have a problem accessing the fishing area but they were blocked during filming.

“I’m here almost everyday. I pay for my permit to be here and they blocked the entrance,” he said.

Strandfontein Ratepayers and Residents’ Association chairman Mario Oostendorp, in a post on the association’s Facebook page; said fisherfolk were not allowed to access the parking lot as the dunes were classified as “sensitive” and they would be issued with a fine contravening the City’s by-laws.

However, he said with the filming company, dune sensitivity was not a factor as tracks were laid down and heavy duty trucks permitted to move on the dunes.

He said fisherfolk were concerned about the Broken Road and the safety of visitors using the area.

But, he said, the movie industry was permitted to dig, to house a temporary film shoot set up which would cause further damage to the integrity of the already crumbling parking area, which does not appear to be a concern for the City, as “money talks”.

He asked whether this would be allowed along the beaches of Camps Bay.

“Why does biodiversity only matter when it suits the City. It seems money is the determining factor in decision making,” he said.

Mr Bosman said the film company used an existing pathway, created over time by the public and fishermen.

“The City’s beach co-coordinators had meetings with the film company and suggested the access path to the parking area created by the fisherman be used as a temporary measure. This was allowed only after it was determined that the alternative access was both blocked and unsafe,” he said.

Mr Bosman said geo tracks were used for access to the parking area for set-build and vehicle access on the filming days in order to minimise the impact on the existing path.

“No vehicles were allowed on the beach as no off-road vehicle (ORV) permit was obtained. The film company had no vehicles on the beach while the film set was being built or during filming,” he said.

Mr Bosman said the parking lot would be restored and fixed to its original or better state by the film company.

Immediate residents or residents impacted directly by the filming would have been consulted.

There were no residents or businesses directly impacted in this instance.

“Furthermore, there is no direct impact on the main beach or pool area. The film shoot is contained away from public parking regularly used by the public,” he said.

The City said the most recent study stated that Cape Town is a globally competitive film destination, with local and international filmmakers using its locations, facilities and services.

The city has a variety of world class locations, studios, facilitation companies and specialised crew and provides a host of direct and indirect economic opportunities to the city and region.

The latest economic data, from 2015, pegs Cape Town’s film industry turnover and jobs created at R3.5 billion and 9 320 respectively.

Any complaints or concerns can be addressed to the Film Permit Office. Any appeals against the decision to issue a film permit may be submitted to MSA.Appeals@capetown.gov.za