Call for more frequent sand clearing

Sand swamps the bus stop in Harbour Road.

The City’s annual operation to dig Hout Bay out from under heaps of wind-blown beach sand is under-way, but residents say it needs to happen more then once a year to make a real difference.

Resident Eduardo Baker said the “huge sandstorms” made driving difficult and he called on the City to consider doing more sand-clearing operations throughout the year.

“The roads leading towards the harbour, especially around the beach, are a nightmare at times due to the amount of sand being blown into the streets. Maybe the City should come and do a clean-up atleast once a month,” he said.

Mr Baker also wondered whether the sand could be clogging up Hout Bay’s stormwater drains.

“If you look at the amount on the street, it only leaves one to wonder what is getting into the stormwater drains,” he said.

Another resident, Aimee Thomas, said she found it puzzling that the City only cleared the sand once a year given how a big a problem it was.

“There are times you cannot even see the roads, that is how much sand is out there. Especially when the wind has been blowing for days, then our roads look terrible,” she said.

“I have never heard of any major accidents or something of the sort happening, luckily enough. But it is a real possibility if the wrong driver came along.”

On Tuesday May 3, ward councillor Roberto Quintas confirmed that excavators and bulldozers would be working on the beach between the river mouth and harbour to clear the sand that had accumulated in the frontal dune area of Hout Bay.

According to Mr Quintas, the work will take place from 7am until 5pm, and is set to conclude by Friday May 13.

“It’s that time of the year again where we ask residents to be patient with our coastal management team as they complete the required dune rehabilitation work,” he said.

Mr Quintas explained that sand management was an ongoing programme throughout the year, which included sand clearing off roads during the summer and drier months when wind-blown sand is present.

“The sand clearing from stormwater systems forms part of that programme, and is escalated during the winter-preparedness window to ensure that the stormwater systems are as clear as possible to avoid flooding,” he said.

According to Mr Quintas, the sand is largely static when it’s heavy and damp, and does not blow about like in the dry months.

“It’s is for this reason that roads are cleared of sand when the sand is present, and stormwater is cleared in advance of the rains and as part of the winter preparedness programme,” Mr Quintas said.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews added that the City’s coastal management team would ensure that all the sand was pushed back into the sea with the area being re-profiled and netted in preparation for the next south-easter season.

He added that the project also formed part of the City’s efforts to reduce the impact of beach sand on the Hout Bay infrastructure.

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