The public will continue to enjoy unlimited access to the Kalk Bay beach and tidal pools
The City of Cape Town today, 9 September 2014, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Brass Bell Restaurant and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), ending an 18 month impasse over public access to the coastline and public tidal pools in Kalk Bay. This landmark agreement will ensure that members of the public have unrestricted access to the beach and tidal pools.
The Kalk Bay tidal pools have a long and rich history and heritage in Cape Town, stretching back generations. In the mid-1970s, the tidal pools were used regularly by the local schools for their swimming gala events and have always been a popular public bathing area.
The route through the subway to these pools has also been used by the public to access the coastline and Kalk Bay Harbour seawall for recreational fishing and other activities. With PRASA extending the lease area of the Brass Bell to include the area surrounding the public tidal pools, concern was raised that unrestricted access to these very important public amenities would be lost.
‘We are committed to building an inclusive city where residents from across the city can share and enjoy the facilities that our magnificent coastline offers. Tidal pools provide a safe place for young and old to swim and enjoy the sea in a sheltered and protected environment. They are an important recreational asset for the city and are very popular with people from all walks of life. We want to ensure that this area remains a shared space that is accessible to all,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Special Projects, Alderman Belinda Walker.
Upon signing this MoA, the owner of the Brass Bell Restaurant guarantees unhindered public access to the tidal pools, coastal environment and the historical access point to the Kalk Bay Beach area and harbour wall. Unrestricted access through the subway is to be open between the business hours of 06:00 and midnight during the summer months of September to May. The door at the southern end of the premises to the Kalk Bay Harbour area is to also remain open as per the above condition. A bell will be installed in the subway and at the door at the southern end to alert security to allow access to the public as needed. Brass Bell security is to be available between midnight and 05:59 to grant public access.
During the winter months of June to August, there will be unrestricted access between the hours of 08:00 and midnight, and Brass Bell security is to be available between midnight and 07:59 to grant public access. The owner of the restaurant will install appropriate signage at both access points.
The Brass Bell Restaurant undertakes to control public access to the kiddies pool and beach area, with particular emphasis on the safety of children under the age of 10. The owner further undertakes to keep the area clean and free of waste, maintain and manage the kiddies pool and related infrastructure, and provide shower facilities for the use of the public.
The City will be responsible for maintaining and managing the tidal pools and related infrastructure, installing visible signage indicating public amenities and coastal access beyond the subway, and assisting the Brass Bell restaurant and PRASA with any land use applications if necessary. This will ensure that the infrastructure is retained for the use and enjoyment of all communities.
The restaurant is obligated to serve and sell liquor strictly in compliance with the conditions of their liquor licence. The MoA stipulates that restaurant furniture be removed from around the pool to ensure adequate public space and access to the pools and prevents anyone from being excluded from the area.
The MoA does not deal with the presence or otherwise of the decks. The legality of the construction of the decks in terms of the National Environmental Management Act resides with the Western Cape Government’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. This process is underway and the City is not mandated to make a decision in this regard.
The signing of this MoA between the three parties again demonstrates that, with appropriate and careful discussion and collaboration, economic growth and activity can occur on our coastline without the loss of public amenity, access and enjoyment.
THE SAVE OUR SEAS Foundation, based in Switzerland, is dedicated to protecting ocean life, in particular sharks and rays. They fund projects worldwide with four permanent centres in various countries, including one in our very own Kalk Bay.