Crescent’s kerbs are crumbling

Hout Bay resident Mike Dollow points to the damage done to the kerb in front of his home on Beach Crescent. Mr Dollow claims the damage was done by the City of Cape Towns Roads Departments front end loader trucks.

Hout Bay’s Beach Crescent has lost its kerb appeal, according to a resident in the area.

Mike Dollow, whose home is in Beach Crescent, says the City of Cape Town’s roads department front end loader trucks have been destroying residents’ kerbs and City pavements.
The machinery is required to access the beach for the alignment of the river mouth or opening of the stormwater drain.
Mr Dollow informed the Sentinel News that he had been noticing the continued deterioration along the beach side of Beach Crescent for “several years” now.
“The constant use of heavy equipment by the roads department has completely destroyed the pavement along the beach side. The sand level is now close to the level of the road. It used to be a metre below.”
According to Mr Dollow, parts of the pavement were removed to allow stormwater to run off, but roads department workers have dumped the pavement debris on the beach.
Mr Dollow said this debris had now become hazardous.
“Some of the broken kerb stones can be found 20 metres from the road at the centre of the beach. This is a popular beach visited by residents and tourists alike. Someone could get hurt with all the broken kerb stones and sharp substrate of the damaged pavement still lying around,” he said.

“The roads department only removed some of the debris after I told them I’m informing the newspaper of this.”

Mr Dollow said he wrote to the area’s coastal management and roads departments, urging them to upgrade and repair the beachside kerb.

“The pavement is literally in pieces, the signs along the beach also need upgrading. Especially the ones indicating where dogs are allowed, since many people still bring their pets to this beach despite knowing dog faeces is toxic. If the municipality cannot properly maintain this beachfront area, then they should rather allow nature to take it back. Then at least we will all know where we stand, and resources can be utilised elsewhere.”

Mr Dollow’s other concern was the lack of stormwater management. He indicated where the street’s main stormwater pipe exit is – on the beach, adjacent to Dunes restaurant, buried under sand.

Mr Dollow shared his email correspondence with Natalie Newman, from the City of Cape Town’s coastal management branch, with the newspaper.

“In the emails Ms Newman acknowledged that for many years the kerbs have been damaged by machinery required to access the beach, and said the coastal management branch “agrees that this section of beach directly in front of the Dunes Restaurant is not in good condition and contains a significant amount of gravel and inert material that shouldn’t be on the beach”.

Ms Newman went on to say that while the walkway had been damaged by machines accessing the beach, “the gravelly sand on the beach is as a result of poor management, in earlier years, when removing sand off the road”.

She also said this practice had since been addressed with the roads department “to ensure that contaminated material is not placed on the beach”.

According to Ms Newman a “significant excavation and disposal of the beach sand” will be needed to clean this area which also includes historic inert material exposed by the southeaster wind.

On the topic of the stormwater pipes, Ms Newman told Mr Dollow designs were being drawn up by the roads department. “The roads department have been leading the proposed design of the required road and stormwater upgrade at Promenade Road. The coastal management branch have received the designs and are undertaking the final detailed design of the seaward edge, as well as access to the beach.”

Ms Newman added: “Once we have the approval and go ahead for the upgrade of the road and walkway, we will be able to address access to the beach for service vehicles, and hopefully clean up the material that has accumulated as a result of many years of poor practice when clearing sand from the road.”

By the time this edition went to print, the City’s media office had not replied to the Sentinel News’ multiple requests for comment, claiming they needed “further details to investigate”.