Harbour headaches

The toilets at the Hout Bay Harbour receiving a much-needed face-lift.

With the festive season approaching, it’s about to get really busy at Hout Bay Harbour but the apparent slow pace of construction carried out on the paving and the removal of the fencing has raised some concerns.

Construction at the harbour kicked off in April this year, with various renovations being done to vandalised buildings, constructing new ablution facilities, improving security in the form of a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera network system, removing existing fencing and replacing them with high pre-cast concrete as well as erecting new fencing around equipment installation.
Other work include the removal of existing and new construction of a number of pedestrian and vehicle security entrances comprising of automatic and stainless steel gates.
New cables are being installed, along with prepaid kiosks and new prepaid, three phase and single phase, electricity meters on jetties and breakwater.
Business owner and a frequent visitor to the Hout Bay Harbour, Jamie Lawson, said it was frustrating to see the construction still continuing.
He said he thought work would have wrapped up by now.
He added that work around the harbour was an inconvenience, especially as the area would soon be getting more visitors  

“Everything looks a mess and it’s such an inconvenience. The work has been going on since April already but it does not seem as if it’s coming to an end. One would have thought workers would try and get things done to make it in time for the number of tourists heading to Cape Town. Seems like we were wrong,” Mr Lawson said.

Hout Bay resident, Elizabeth Bisschop, said the work seemed to be “taking forever” with “no hurry to get the job done”.

“I do not know if there are deadlines to meet with this job. The holiday season is upon us and we have visitors from overseas, bus trips during the summer and Hout Bay needs visitors. Will this job be done before the builders pack up at the end of the year?” Ms Bisschop asked.

She also felt that a new fence was not needed, saying: “A relatively good fence was around the perimeter of the harbour, but has since been removed. A new fence is being put up around the harbour where the old one was.”

Ms Bisschop also asked who would maintain the toilets once they were complete. “A person should be put in charge of taking care of the toilets. It is time Hout Bay Harbour took charge of itself,” she said.

According to the national Department of Public Works, construction is planned to be completed by December 15 for the slipways upgrade and end of March 2020 for the infrastructure upgrades.

The department’s spokesperson, Thami Mchunu, confirmed that complaints had been received, but said they were dealt with “case by case”.

“Whenever complaints and or allegations are received, they are comprehensively addressed by the project team which is made up of DPWI and Coega (the professional service provider and the contractor),” Mr Mchunu said.

He said various stakeholder meetings were held, which included the broader community and tenants. The latest consultation with stakeholders took place on Friday October 25.

Mr Mchunu played down observations that the area was an inconvenience due to construction. “The contractor is accommodating all harbour users and the construction areas are demarcated with clear temporal signs channelling all harbour users,” he said.

“The department will continue to ensure there are minimal interruptions during the construction period.”

The department also confirmed that there were “no hold-ups” with the contract and construction is well within the approved duration.

“The aforementioned challenges have been addressed without affecting the due completion date,” Mr Mchunu said.