Residents petition to speed up road repair

Strandfontein resident Mario Oostendurp from the Proudly Strandfontein civic organisation at the site.

Close to 200 people have signed an online petition requesting that the City of Cape Town speed up the process to repair Fisherman’s Lane, also known as the “Broken Road” at Strandfontein Pavilion.

The petition was posted on the Proudly Strandfontein Facebook page and Friends of Strandfontein Pavilion Facebook page on Monday September 12 (“Damaged beach road angers residents,” Plainsman, September 7).

Strandfontein resident Mario Oostendurp, who is from the Proudly Strandfontein civic organisation, said residents have received the same responses from the City – that there are plans in the pipeline to fix the road, which will be implemented over the course of the next three years.

“People are frustrated. This is because we waited a long time already, now we have to wait three more years. We have highlighted our complaints on social media and in the newspaper, and we want to know what they will be doing in the interim. We can’t wait another three years for action.

“There is no signage, just a barricade on some parts, the parking area has no signage or barricades,” he said.

When the Plainsman visited the site, there were three huge holes in the road, one of which is 30 metres long and 14 metres wide. Then, for about 100 metres, half of the road has been washed away by the sea.

Anda Ntsodo, Mayco member for community services, said he has asked City officials to fast-track the design process to ensure options are released for public comment as soon as possible.

“Three design options are being drafted for the redevelopment of Fisherman’s Lane. These options will be released to the public for comment and, based on this feedback, aspects of the designs which the public liked will be combined into a final design for the area.

“The City will then seek to set aside budget for this development,” he said.

Mr Ntsodo said relevant area management staff and the coastal coordinator visited the site on Friday September 16.

He said the pavilion is a key coastal node and very popular during summer.

“I wanted to see first-hand the condition of the Strandfontein Pavilion, tidal pool and Blue Flag beach facilities. I was very impressed with the condition of the ablutions servicing both the tidal pool and the beach, which have been refurbished and were in very good condition.

“The tidal pool is arguably the largest in the southern hemisphere and is a key feature in attracting thousands of people in the summer season. It offers a large, safe swimming area to be enjoyed,” he said.

Mr Oostendurp said the petition will be available until the end of the week. He said the petition calls for safety measures to be implemented with immediate effect to safeguard visitors to Fisherman’s Lane.

“The surrounding areas of the Strandfontein Pavilion are completely ruined due to the lack of upkeep by the City and constitutes real dangers to beachgoers. The state of affairs at beaches once again shows that the City prioritises the more affluent areas’ beaches ahead of beaches frequented by the masses.

“As the festive season approaches, we can expect more visitors to Strandfontein Pavilion. The beach facilities are neglected and there is no immediate commitment to fix these facilities.

“We therefore need to petition the City to urgently address the lack of repair, upgrade and development at the Strandfontein Pavilion, which, for years, has been overlooked and side-lined for upgrades along the Atlantic coast line and elsewhere in Cape Town,” he said.

Mr Ntsodo replied, saying that there are interim safety measures in place at the pavilion.

He said there is signage in place leading to the site along the only legal vehicular access route off Baden Powell Drive.

“The signage serves to warn people of the collapsing road. The barricade is in place to prevent any cars from driving onto Fisherman’s Lane.

“Fisherman’s Lane forms part of public open space, therefore members of the public must exercise caution as they enter the area at their own risk,” he said.

Mr Ntsodo said the Strandfontein beach node is already one of the most popular beach amenities in the city. He said when Fisherman’s Lane is redesigned to include a boardwalk, fishing piers and recreational areas, it will add even more reasons for people to come in their thousands to this area.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to Fisherman’s Lane, we are dealing with the ignorance of the past when buildings and roads were built without understanding of the coast and how it can erode structures. We are planning to make a large investment in this section of the coast but we want to do it right this time so that the investment lasts.

“We also want to use the latest thinking around how to create public spaces that welcome people of all ages. We are confident that with the community’s input into the designs, we will be able to create a plan that will make this area one of the best coastal walkways in the city,” he said.