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Tuesday Feb 04, 2014

Monwabisi revamp 'just the beginning'

The official opening of a host of refurbished chalets along Monwabisi Beach last week marked the beginning of a long-term project that would transform the beach's coastal resort in Khayelitsha into a tourism hotspot, said the City of Cape Town.

It is a change of pace for the stretch of coastline which has often been criticised as being both neglected and mismanaged since it was first developed in the early 1980s.

For Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects, the R6 million refurbishment of the resort's 26 chalets - which she described as just being nothing more than 'little hokkies' before the upgrade - was an example of the sort of treatment the rest of the area will receive.

Each chalet was fitted with a bathroom, carports and a braai area. A conference building was also built to host functions.

'The city has developed a plan for the redevelopment of Monwabisi. This includes a picnic area, amphitheatre, play parks, improved parking areas, ablutions, a day visitors' centre and offices for staff,' Walker said.

While taking a tour of the new chalets yesterday she explained that the redevelopment would also include the possibility of rebuilding the resort's problematic tidal pool - where drownings are not uncommon - and addressing concerns about the breakwater, which was built to shield the pool but has not been effective in doing so.

However, these will only happen at a later date.

'We need to get an environmental impact team here to assess how we can integrate our plans with the natural system here... We are already seeing the impact of building things without taking into account how it will change the shape of our coastline,' she said, referring to the beach's dunes, which have been steadily inching inland since the stretch of coastline was first developed.

Sean Gordon, the resort's manager, said that in his experience with the beach the breakwater was probably one of its biggest problems.

'It messed with the tides and brought all this sand inland. It was once completely green here.'

Future upgrades to the resort will be staggered by the availability of funding from the national government under the Urban Renewal Programme.

'The city is currently negotiating with the National Treasury so that the next phase can be implemented,' said Walker.

Cape Argus


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