Councillor does 180 on destruction of iconic Muizenberg huts

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Aug 2, 2017

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Cape Town - A Muizenberg ward councilor has done a 180 on an idea to demolish some of the iconic beach huts on the eastern side of the beach. 

After proposing the destruction of some of the colourful huts on a community Facebook page, ward councillor Amy Kuhl later told the Cape Argus that the maintenance of some of the dilapidated huts was to be handed over to a community organisation.

Kuhl posted to the Muizenberg Notice Boards Facebook page this week: "As part of identifying a range of actions to be undertaken to enhance our coastline the issue of the beach huts was raised. We have opted to reduce the number of beach huts on Muizenberg Beach and remove those huts that are on the eastern side of Muizenberg beach close to the river mouth that are no longer used and which are not in a good state of repair for the following reasons: 

1) They have not been functional for many years and the doors were removed over a year ago due to the anti-social behaviour that was happening in the area

2) The line of huts at this end of the beach poses a public security risk as criminals have been observed using them as a way of 'ambushing' beach users in mugging

3) The huts are again being increasingly used as overnight shelter

4) They no longer serve any public purpose and cost public funds to maintain and secure

"As part of this process we are looking at refurbishing the beach huts at the main beach area to make them functional again and usable to the broader public benefit. Muizenberg will NOT lose all its beach huts and the iconic photographic value of them will be retained at the main beach area. 

"We encourage the community to put proposals forward how a windbreak could look that can be erected in the place of the East side huts," the post read. 

Kuhl's post garnered a backlash from residents who opposed the decision.

Steven Greene, who runs the putt putt course at Muizenberg Pavilion said the decision was outrageous.

"It's a horrible idea. Those huts are tourist attractions. Why take them away because they can’t control it?" 

Greene conceded the huts had become a haven for criminals and those seeking shelter overnight.

"People do go in there and sleep there but there are many ways just to stop that."

Resident Robert Randall said there was no need to demolish the huts.

"This is ridiculous. If the place looks run down we understand, but don't take it away and don’t replace it with something different. Just maintain it - simple."

But Kuhl denied that the huts were up for demolition. 

"At no point did the City take the decision to remove all the bathing boxes in Muizenberg," Kuhl said on Wednesday. "Coastal management has committed to revamping the ones closer to Surfers Corner. The current situation is that not all bathing boxes in Muizenberg are being used. The City does not have the budget to maintain them.

"Coastal management, in conjunction with myself and through the improvement district, will try to find a way to hand over the east side bathing boxes to a community organisation that will repair, maintain and manage them," Kuhl said.

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Cape Argus

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