National government officials joined City representatives to assess the deterioration of the Hout Bay Harbour last week.
Representatives from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and the Environment (DFFE) along with mayoral committee member for environment and spatial planning Eddie Andrews and ward councillor Roberto Quintas visited the harbour on Wednesday April 19.
According to Mr Quintas, they saw for themselves the decay, rot and vandalism of infrastructure, vacant lots, a lack of investment, and the abandonment of sunken vessels by their owners.
The visit, said Mr Quintas, brought his hope of re-imagining the harbour as an investment drawcard one step closer to fruition.
“They could also see the potential and promise that this catalytic space could offer our community in terms of economic development, access to jobs, and tourism and commercial possibilities,” he said.
In 2019, he spoke of re-imagining the harbour and transforming it into a place where the people of Hangberg could find affordable housing, jobs, training and business opportunities. This motion to “re-imagine the Hout Bay Harbour” was submitted and accepted by sub-council (“Re-imagining Hout Bay Harbour,” Sentinel News, August 30, 2019).
The City was willing to work with the DPWI and business to “create a new landmark destination for Cape Town”, Mr Quintas said.
However, the “ongoing elephant in the room” was the lack of engagement from the department and “uncertainty regarding their plans for the harbour”.
Last week’s meeting, however, gave him hope that the DPWI and the DFFE would work together to help resuscitate the harbour management task team to aid the development of the facility, he said.
“This productive meeting, the first of its kind in my seven years as ward councillor, was an opportunity I have been waiting for to impress upon the department my plan to re-imagine Hout Bay Harbour,” said Mr Quintas. “Now they have vowed to keep a close eye on the task team’s progress and hold the first meeting in May.”