Cape Town - A public relations exercise to drum up support for the City of Cape Town’s R1.5 billion redevelopment of Maiden’s Cove on the Atlantic Seaboard unleashed an outcry from residents across the city who say the project is a waste of money.
On its Facebook page, the city council posted a document on its envisioned Maiden’s Cove Coastal Park which will include R35 million worth of boardwalks between Clifton and Camps Bay, new braai facilities, an outdoor gym and upgrades to ablution facilities.
Another boardwalk at Bantry Bay would cost a further R26.5m.
Upgrades to Victoria Road are estimated at R30m and the refurbishment of sidewalks, steps and lifesaving buildings will add a further cost of R10m which would be funded through the private development of around 5ha.
But residents said the money could be better spent.
On Facebook, Dianne Makings posted: “How on earth can this be a priority in a city that still has no running water for many of its citizens? The funds should be allocated to upgrading basic facilities in areas of need.”
Darryl Brown suggested the money be spent on parks on the Cape Flats and the sea parks along Baden Powell Drive.
In another Facebook comment, Melshaw Wyngaard wrote: “Hello! There is a community called Ocean View. Remember us?”
In March, the city council called for bids for the private development of a portion of the 16ha area between Clifton and Camps Bay.
Deputy mayor Ian Neilson confirmed that eight tenders were received when the tender closed last month for the building of 52 residential dwellings, a 3 500m2 hotel, 5 000m2 of retail and restaurants, 2 250m2 of work space and 700 parking bays.
Ten percent of the money raised through the 50-year lease would be used to build social housing close to the city.
Neilson said the council was still evaluating the proposals which would beconsidered by a bid evaluation committee before a final decision was taken.
A source said at least three of the bids received were “spectacular”.
But residents have questioned the council’s spending priorities.
“Why when people need housing, schools, and kids need safe places to play and be kids? really you need to check your priorities City of Cape Town,” said Ingrid Pillay.
Mario Oostendurp posted: “Really??... My neighbourhood has NO recreational facilities. Neglected parks, overgrown bush, HUGE drug problem, crime and a road @ Strandfontein Pavilion called Broken Road’ ...”
Responding to the flurry of Facebook comments, council spokeswoman Priya Reddy said the area was being developed to make it more inclusive for all residents, regardless of where they lived.
“Many people mention housing, safety and other pressing needs? Well, that’s why we sell off city assets. So we can make money to cross subsidise those that most need our help,” she posted.
The chairman of the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association, Chris Willemse, said the primary objection to the plan was to preserve public open space used by all citizens from all walks of life, and the direct link it created between the nature reserve and the sea.
He predicted that future plans would result in people having to pay for access the area. Last year’s public participation had been a box-ticking exercise, he said.
“The only way to talk to the city is through a legal process,” Willemse said.
“There’s nothing we can do right now. We will wait to see what the implications are.”
Ernest Booth, another resident who commented on Facebook, said: “This insatiable need to develop at all costs is sickening. Spend the money on the real needs of the community.”
A former tour guide Jacques Jacobs said tourists were more than happy with existing facilities: “Election time and you want to spend more money on the rich folks? Rather spend money somewhere else where it is needed more for example safety and pollution of Strandfontein beaches. Who’s stupid idea was this?”