Beach work questioned by residents

The bulldozers on Hout Bay Beach drew lots of attention, with many unsure of what was really happening.

The sight of bulldozers on Hout Bay Beach has caused quite a stir, with many questions being asked about the work being carried out.

There was also growing frustration with the amount of plastic being dug up, especially what is used by the City of Cape Town as barriers on the beach, to cordon off the area being worked on.

The plastic netting found buried under the sand after being washed up.

Tracey Gilbert was walking her two dogs at the time when she spotted the two bulldozers being offloaded and upon approaching the workers, she was given nothing but: “We are only doing our job mam.”

“They started pushing from the sand and making these very unusual imprints. We haven’t been consulted or told that this would happen,” she said.

Ms Gilbert suspected that part of the dunes were being removed to make more space on the beach, before guessing that the City could be considering building a walkway for joggers or walkers.

“It would be nice to be informed like they inform us about everything else. It’s not nice just seeing work like this carried out and then you have to guess what’s happening,” she frustratingly said.

A man who only wanted to be know as Justin called Sentinel last week and complained about the lack of communication between the City and residents.

“Most people just woke up to find the work having already started on the beach and very little people actually knew what was happening,” he said.

“They could have been preparing for a major development, we would never have known. The City must communicate these things to the public.”

Several posts went viral on social media, questioning the work being carried out on the beach and also complaining about the objects being dug up in the process.

Meanwhile, the City maintained that the work being carried out on the beach was part of the “dune reshaping and sacrificial nets maintenance” project.

Every year, the Hout Bay dune shaping is necessary and done before the advent of the rains.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said they were aware of the amount of plastics on the beach.

“The City’s Coastal Management unit is responsible for this annual activity and we are aware of sacrificial nets being dragged by the current into the ocean,” he said.

The dune rehabilitation project started back in 2007 after spreading dunes closed roads. At the heart of the project are plants that stabilise the dunes and netting that traps windblown sand.

The dune rehabilitation project in full swing.

According to the City, nets are retrieved “as best as possible” under the sand heaps and collected by the team.

“However, some may be buried and not visible immediately. Whatever is missed will be collected the next day, however, should any members of the public wish to assist in this it would be gladly welcomed,” Mr Quintas said.

He encouraged residents to collect any of the nets which can be seen on the beach and place it above the high water mark.

“These will then be removed by the team. As always, the dedication by the wider community of Hout Bay in working collaboratively with the City around many projects is greatly appreciated,” Mr Quintas said.