130903-Cape Town. Bo Kaap Quarry. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town says there’s no money in its 2014/15 budget for the planning work needed to convert the disused Strand Street Quarry into a “tourist gateway” with funicular access to Table Mountain.

Johan van der Merwe, the mayoral committee member for economic, environmental and spatial planning, confirmed that the city would not be able to finance the planning work needed to move the project forward in the current financial year, but it would be considered in the next budget.

“While the city will be addressing other urgent priorities in the recently approved budget, we would still like to see development happen in the area as soon as possible because of the clear opportunities and benefits that this would present.”

The planning work was stalled last year because the city had spent the R4.5-million initially allocated for the project on the “higher than budgeted expenditure” of the Cape Town Stadium. The project was also overlooked when the city considered its adjustment budget at the beginning of the year.

Now almost a year behind schedule, the planning aspect of the project remains in limbo until city funds become available.

Van der Merwe said the city would “in the meantime” continue to support the planning work SanParks was doing on Signal Hill.

The tender document for SanParks’ technical feasibility and risk assessment refers to the upgrade as the “Signal Hill People Mover” project.

Plans include a funicular that would give visitors safe and convenient access to Table Mountain, with a station at the quarry site.

About 800 000 visitors go to Signal Hill and the Table Mountain cableway annually.

The “people mover” would help allay traffic congestion on the Kloof Nek Road intersection.

A new gateway and visitor access system would make it easier for people to visit the area, improve safety and provide an opportunity for surrounding visitor sites to be upgraded.

The successful implementation of the planned upgrade would require multiparty agreements between SanParks and the city with the Department of Public Works and the SANDF.

Meanwhile Marc Truss of the Green Point City Improvement District said it was looking at alternative solutions to making the area safer.

These included the possibility of using the area for off-street parking, with any revenue used to keep the quarry clean and safe.

More than 40 people were removed from informal structures at The Kraal, near the quarry, in a joint raid with the police last week.

Crime and illegal squatters remained a problem in the area.

Last year, Dawnsy Mieny died after she fell down the slopes of the quarry during a struggle with an attacker. The man mugged her while she was walking with her daughter to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at Cape Town Stadium.

“We need to find ways of raising the funds or the city needs to look at how it can free up some money (for the planning work),” said Truss. - Cape Argus