Strand upgrade on track

The newly constructed promenade and seawall at Strand Pavilion on Beach Road, all part of the Strand Pavilion precinct upgrade project. The future historic Strand jetty, now in a state of disrepair and closed to the public for safety reasons, is unknown at this time.

If you frequent Beach Road in Strand, particularly in the vicinity of Strand Pavilion, you’ll have experienced the frustration of one-way traffic periodically, from Sarel Cilliers Street up to the Main Road traffic circle, but it’s all for a good cause.

The City of Cape Town is busy with the Strand Pavilion precinct upgrade project, which will materially alter the face of the beach front over the next few years.

The most obvious change thus far, is the construction of a brick-paved promenade and seawall, but there is much more to come.

Bolander spoke to mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, last week for an update on progress.

“The Strand Pavilion precinct upgrade project comprises the resurfacing of the parking area near the launch pad off Beach Road, the establishment of a demarcated informal trading area, and the installation of public lighting. It further entails the construction of a new paved pedestrianised public square, which will be located opposite the existing circle on Main Road,” Mr Herron said.

“The creation of public seating and soft landscaping will also be a feature of the public square and minor upgrading of underground services will be done.

The refurbishment of the Strand sea wall, which is also under way, forms part of the overall pavilion precinct revitalisation initiative.”

On the matter of the seawall, which will prevent future inundation of Beach Road during storm-surf conditions, Mr Herron said: “We have implemented the first phase of construction of the seawall, which addresses the section of wall from the Strand Pavilion to Da Gama Street. The construction contract was awarded towards the end of 2015 and is due to be completed by August this year.

The work is progressing satisfactorily. The construction of the wall itself has progressed up to Sarel Cilliers Street to date, and construction on the last section up Da Gama started on Monday February 6.

“The finalisation of the designs and tender documents for the next phase, from Da Gama Street to the Strand Life Saving Club, is under way and more information will be available once these processes have been concluded.”

Mr Herron added that the completion date for the whole of the Strand Pavilion precinct upgrade project – which includes the sea wall and the promenade – is anticipated to be June 2018, pending any unforeseen challenges or delays.

There was a great deal of unhappiness among informal traders who had to abandon their stalls in the parking lot and on the sidewalk adjacent to Strand Pavilion, for the duration of the construction project, and Bolander asked how the matter will be resolved in future.

According to mayoral committee member for Cape Town’s Area East, Anda Ntsodo, the matter is in hand. “The City’s informal trading department intends to develop, in consultation with all interested and affected parties, an informal trading plan for the Strand area.

“This plan will, once approved by full Council, regulate and manage where informal trading can and cannot take place. As a City that strives towards service excellence and accessibility, an inclusive consultation process is of utmost importance,” Mr Ntsodo told Bolander last week.

“The intention of this trading plan is to leverage investment in public spaces for economic opportunities for small businesses. The City wants to encourage a vibrant and inclusive economy, of which informal trading is an important part.

“These trading opportunities will offer entrepreneurs access to locals and tourists making use of the much improved beachfront area.

“It is important that trading opportunities are managed in a way that allows for the enjoyment of this stretch of coastline for visitors, while also offering them a chance to support local businesses.

“The proposed plan will include the size of the trading bays and the number and location of the bays.

“It is hoped that this trading plan will be approved before the completion of the contract.”

The City initially undertook in an email on Friday afternoon, to explain the future of the historic Strand jetty adjacent to the Strand Pavilion, but at the last minute declined to comment on the matter.

A one-way traffic flow system is in effect between Da Gama and Sarel Cilliers streets, while the next section of the seawall is constructed.