Cape Town - Cape Town’s Beach Hut Trust is looking for donations to repair and refurbish 13 of the 45 iconic 200-year-old beach huts at Muizenberg Beach at a cost of R100 000 each.
The huts were recently vandalised and in an effort to curb the vandalism, the trust – a collaboration between public and private organisations and the City – took a joint decision with the City to remove the doors from the huts.
In January last year, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the City had allocated R3 million for the repair and refurbishment of the Muizenberg beach huts.
Hill-Lewis said at the time the huts had long been an iconic image in Cape Town’s colourful landscape, and were a postcard for Cape Town tourism.
“But they have fallen into terrible disrepair and do not demonstrate the pride in our City that we are trying to build.”
Asked what had happened to the R3 million from the City, Beach Huts Trust founder and trustee Angela Gorman said the money had been given to the City’s Parks and Recreation and R900 000 was spent on renovating 10 huts.
She said the renovated huts were the eight near Surfer’s Corner and two along East Beach, a blue flag beach that draws the biggest crowds.
Gorman said: “We were very excited when we heard about the R3 million. But that money was given to Parks and Recreation. They chose to spend it on making the boardwalk safer by upgrading the lights and installing solar lights.
“They also spent the majority on completely renovating the Lifesavers’ Hut which was in desperate need.”
Giving a breakdown of how the City’s money was spent, Mayco Member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross said from the R3 million made available to the Recreation and Parks Department for the refurbishment, R1.5 million went to the refurbishment of the beach huts and lifeguard tower.
“R1.1 million went to the surrounding infrastructure, including electrical repairs at the Muizenberg Pavilion.”
She said the funds were managed through the Recreation and Parks Department as the beach huts, pavilion and other recreational facilities at Muizenberg were under the department’s area of responsibility.
“The scope of work included the refurbishment of the lifeguard tower, eight beach huts (six double and two single units) at Surfer’s Corner and two beach huts (single units) on the beach side.
“Both aesthetic and structural repairs were required, as the beach huts were in a state of structural dilapidation.”
Van der Ross said the trust had been instrumental in fundraising and raising awareness of the importance of this project.
“There is an ongoing working relationship between them and the department. Constant updates on the refurbishment phase and City processes are provided to them regularly, and representatives are included in project-related meetings/discussions.”
Regarding the vandalism problem, Gorman said security guards in the area were doing what they could to track down the vandals and urged the public to report any vandalism or people damaging the huts.
About the seemingly high cost of the refurbishment of a single hut, Gorman said: “The huts have to be completely re-done, the R100 000 is the cost from the council, and also from our contractors.”
She said the cost covers the wood, the Nutec, the Shera for the floors, the wooden joists and structural poles which all have to be H3 treated to be able to withstand the conditions.
Gorman said the trust was hoping for a donation of products.
“We might be able to get the Nutec donated. Any other products that are donated will naturally reduce the costs, barring labour. It takes three to four days to complete a hut.”
To donate, visit beachhuts.org.za