Short-cut nipped in the bend

Questions have been raised about a shortcut that was fenced off and developments that are under way at the site.
Locals stand outside the fence waiting to hear why the shortcut was closed.

Locals are unhappy about the closure of a well-used pipe track on Hout Bay Main Road.

This pipe track was used as a detour from time to time when accidents caused congestion on Main Road.

Hout Bay local, Chippie Steel, said they had tried to gather information about the work being carried out on the site, but were unable to.

“We have asked the person we believe to be the developer what is happening there, but he was evasive and said he knew nothing about it. So we are trying to find out what is being done there,” Mr Steel said.

On site, trees have been felled and the gravel pipe track has been graded, with preparation having been made for gutters.

It also appears as if the road is being prepared for resurfacing.

“This pipe track has been used as a detour route from time to time when there has been an accident on Main Road which has blocked the road. But this appears to not be possible anymore,” Mr Steel explained.

Another local who questioned the work is Rachel O’Conner, who used the pipe track regularly in the past.

“The fence went up and now there are signs which say we cannot enter or use this road. There was no notice given and this happened all of a sudden. This shortcut actually helped when there were traffic jams on the Main Road,” she said.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas explained that the land was privately-owned, with a City of Cape Town servitude registered over it.

“This allows for our service vehicles to access the Water Reservoir and pipe track as well as provides access for other emergency vehicles,“ he explained.

Mr Quintas was approached by some concerned residents that the closing off of the private erven interfered with access for mountain bikers and hikers.

He said the estate owners had informed the City that the fence was for security purposes, and that the City and other emergency services could access the track via their 24-hour guarded entrance.

Avid hiker Damian Carolus said he had been turned away by security when he tried to access the pipe track.

“We had previously entered this point to start our hikes and cyclists would also use this very same pipe track. With it being closed now, we would like to know what the plans are for this space and why the need to close it,” Mr Carolus said.

“There are plenty of other hikers who are going to be in uproar when they find out this pipe track is now closed for good.”

Mr Quintas explained that he has submitted a formal investigation request to the City’s planning and roads officials and awaits their report.