Jetty future in holding pattern

The now derelict historic Strand Jetty, closed to the public since 2002 for safety reasons, may not be reconstructed, despite a statement to the contrary at a 2015 briefing by the City of Cape Town, on the Strand Pavilion Precinct upgrade project.

The future of the historic Strand Jetty, a much-loved feature of the beachfront for decades, and a regular haunt of fisherman and strollers until it was closed to the public in 2002 for safety reasons, is unclear.

The jetty was constructed in 1934, and for years served as an unloading point for fishing boats, but decades of storms and harsh weather have taken their toll of the structure, and without adequate maintenance, it gradually fell into a state of disrepair.

The decision to cordon it off in 2002, was motivated by the City of Cape Town’s concerns over liability in the event of injury to members of the public who might use it.

The Strand community formed the Strand Jetty Trust, with the objective of raising R12 million to upgrade and repair the jetty to an acceptable level, but despite co-operation from the City, which owns the structure, the initiative foundered.

In May 2007, then mayoral committee member for sport and amenities, Grant Haskins, called for the demolition of the jetty because of safety concerns, and the matter was supposed to come before the Helderberg sub-council and then full council for approval, but the jetty is still standing.

Stellenbosch architectural firm HB Architects conducted a heritage assessment of the derelict structure, in May 2013. Bolander spoke to principal architect Stuart Hermansen on Monday.

“Our assessment recommended that the jetty be given a 3A grading for its uniqueness and socio- economic significance in the local community as a tourist and visitor’s attraction,” Mr Hermansen said.

“It is also important as part of local fishemen’s facilities and Heritage Western Cape supported the restoration of the jetty without conditions.”

When Bolander approached the City of Cape Town for comment on the future of the jetty, in light of the Strand Pavilion precinct upgrade currently under way, mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, said the Strand beachfront regeneration project would proceed as planned. 

“However, the restoration of the jetty has been placed on hold as the costs associated with the restoration are significant and not budgeted for in the 2017/2018 financial year,” he said. 

“As such, a re-evaluation of restoring the jetty will now be done as part of an overall coastal infrastructure optimisation project and in line with the organisational development and transformation plan. 

“Once this has been completed, the future of the jetty will be decided in consultation with the relevant stakeholders through standard City engagement processes,” Mr Herron said.

This is in contradiction, however, with information provided by Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, when the Strand Pavilion precinct upgrade was announced during a media briefing session at the Strand Council Chamber (Bolander March 25 2015, “Strand Pavilion Precinct to be upgraded”).

Mr Van der Merwe said at the time that the reconstruction of the jetty was a key component of the planned upgrade.

He went on to say, that the Strand Jetty Trust, which had done a significant amount of work towards upgrading the Strand Jetty in a public private partnership with the City of Cape Town, had been fully briefed on the project, and had expressed their support going forward.

“The Strand Jetty Trust funded the cost of an environmental impact assessment, and also had plans drawn up for the restoration of the Strand Jetty.

“I will be urging the City to consider making use of these plans when the jetty is restored,” he said.

It is unclear why this initial undertaking to restore the Strand jetty has been retracted.