With memories of the extensive storm damage to the False Bay Coast , especially the railway between Glencairn and Simon’s Town and Jagger’s catwalk at Fish Hoek still fresh in our minds and the current eroded state of the dunes along False Bay, it is clear that we need pro-active planning and management of the coastal zone.

The City of Cape Town has a coastline of 307km, of which it administers approximately 240km, the remaining 60km falling within the Table Mountain National Park.  In recognition of the very significant economic, social and environmental value of its vast coastline the City of Cape Town drafted a Coastal Protection Zone By-law to safeguard the coast. The public was given the opportunity to comment on this by-law until 02 March 2011.  The comments on this pro-active and positive initiative are now in the process of being considered for incorporation into the final draft for implementation.

The key element of the Coastal Zone Protection By-Law is the delineation of a zone within which no further development may take place unless the land has existing development rights.  The by-Law also makes provision for penalties including jail terms and fines for illegal activities within the designated protected coastal zone. 

When you look at the photo of the extent of erosion at Glencairn Beach and the vulnerability of the railway line that has just been reopened, one has a clear picture of the high risk of infrastructure too close to the sea.

Similarly, the photos of the eroded sand dunes on Fish Hoek Beach and the damaged and exposed promenade retaining wall are further evidence of the vulnerability of coastal development. 

Have you seen Fish Hoek Beach this eroded before?  Do you have historical photos of the beaches in the Scenic South, ie south of Lakeside. We would like to post them on the website as a window to past. 

Prior to publicizing the By-law for comment, the City of Cape Town initiated a detailed process to identify, map and define a Coastal Protection Zone (CPZ). You can look at google earth maps with the CZP demarcation at : http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Pages/CoastalProtectionZoneMaps1.aspx

The explicit intent of the City’s Coastal Protection Zone is to:

 a)     Ensure that the coastline and associated opportunities, belong to and remain accessible, to all Capetonians and South Africans

b)     Ensure that the coastline is held and managed in trust as common property for the benefit of current as well as future generations

c)      Retain and protect the economic, social and environmental value of the City’s coastline

d)     Protect and manage coastal ecosystems and their associated services, coastal dynamic processes and coastal biodiversity

e)     Protect remaining coastal systems as buffers to future climate change risks

f)        Protect the natural character, sense of place and aesthetic value of the coastline

g)     Avoid increasing the effect or severity of natural hazards on the City’s coastline

h)      Protect people, property and economic activities from risks arising from dynamic coastal processes, including the risks associated with sea level rise

i)        Reduce management costs through retaining and protecting natural environmental systems

j)        Enhance, protect and optimise social and recreational opportunities

k)      Ensure a high quality coastal environment in perpetuity

l)        Protect the City, and thereby the City’s ratepayers, from increased financial burden resulting from the impacts of coastal erosion, predicted future sea level rise and storm surge events on coastal infrastructure and development

m)   Prevent the existing problems of infrastructure at risk to erosion and storm surges from increasing and recurring into the future.