Cape Town - Upgrades to the tune of R41 million at the Sea Point promenade and Granger Bay parking area have come to a grinding halt due to slow progress by the City-hired contractor, with no end in sight just yet for its completion.
Work began in May last year for the construction and restoration of the beachfront areas, which include the upgrading of the Granger Bay parking area, construction of a rock revetment, a new Fort Road play park, additional walkways, coastal vegetation and lawn planting, installation of interpretive signage to give heritage information, and public art in the Sea Point Library.
Initially set to be completed by June this year, the project also entails two added walkways connecting the promenade to Beach Road and a play park.
Sea Point ward councillor Nicola Jowell said she met with the contractor over the past few months, along with the project manager, during which occupational health and safety concerns were also raised.
“Early in the project last year the City’s project manager started raising the issue of the slow work rate with the contractor and formal notification of this was also issued last year.
“At the close of work last year, there was also an occupational health and safety issue raised on the site.
“The priority over the last few weeks from the Parks Department is to get the irrigation all working, which has been damaged. This did start last year.
“The project manager is also quantifying all the outstanding work on site.
“As soon as the legalities of the contract termination are done, they will put in place the contingency plan.
“This is, of course, the news that nobody wants to hear, and everything has been done behind the scenes over the last few months to try to prevent this, and to get the contractor to remedy the contractual breaches.”
Deputy mayor and Mayco member for spatial planning Eddie Andrews said they were working with the contractor to get the upgrades completed.
He said sections of the beach remained closed.
“We anticipated a different timeline, but unforeseen challenges related to contractor performance have impacted the project schedule.
“The City's project management team is actively working with the contractor to address these issues and expedite progress.
“We are committed to getting the project back on track as soon as possible. The public may make use of the portions of beach that are not cordoned off.”
Attempts to get in touch with the contractor were unsuccessful by deadline yesterday.
The deputy chairperson of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, Lester September, raised concerns that the multimillion-rand project has not been running on track, leaving public funds vulnerable.
He said the City should consider whether the service-level agreement was broken before re-entering into negotiations with the contractor.
This while there was a need for many other upgrade projects in poorer communities across the metro.
“We have been advocating for sometime for there to be a compliance office based in the City manager’s office that will look at matters like this, to make sure officials and external contractors are complying with City regulations, procedures and agreements such as service level agreements.
“The sooner we have such an independent compliance office that will undertake compliance checks, the better.”
The Sea Point, Fresnaye & Bantry Bay Ratepayers Association did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.