Cape plans revamp, Copacabana style

The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism is spear-heading a long-term development project that will see the development of a route between False Bay, Gordon’s Bay and Cape Point.

Hundreds of millions of rand are to be poured into developing the False Bay coastline as a tourist destination.

The huge development from Cape Point to Gordon’s Bay would turn the area into the Copacabana of Cape Town, MEC Alan Winde said.

All three spheres of the government would work together to develop the False Bay Coastline Route in a bid to lure tourists, he said.

Already the Monwabisi resort, between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, is being upgraded.

The full roll-out is to begin in earnest once a partnership agreement is signed by the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and the national Department of Tourism.

The False Bay Coastline Route includes Muizenberg, Vrygrond, Retreat, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Macassar.

Unemployment and poverty are huge problems in most of the areas along the coast and the development would bring much-needed jobs.

The news has been welcomed by industry and community experts, but comes with a warning about the need to safeguard the natural beauty and the protected areas.

The city is finalising a feasibility study, but a number of options are on the table, including:

l A South Peninsula wine route.

l Shark- and whale-watching sites.

l Scuba diving.

l Pleasure cruises between Gordon’s Bay and Simon’s Town.

l Shops, restaurants, nightclubs and taverns.

A number of cultural activities, including crafts and guided tours, have been mooted.

The sensitive dune system would be taken into consideration during environmental impact assessments.

Muizenberg, which used to be the jewel in the False Bay crown, would get a new shopping and restaurant precinct. Kalk Bay Main Road would be given a facelift and Fish Hoek made more tourist-friendly.

Winde gave the assurance that people “expelled” from areas under the Group Areas Act, and those living in Ocean View and Masiphumelele, would also benefit – from job opportunities and having a say in the economic future of the areas.

In an address at the weekend, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said that globally tourism created significantly more jobs than other industries, “employing six times more people than the global automotive manufacturing sector, four times more than the mining sector, and a third more than the financial sector”.

“In Africa, we expect the number of direct and indirect tourism jobs to increase from about 18 million in 2011 to 23 million within a decade. Each job in the tourism sector creates just under two jobs in the broader economy,” said Van Schalkwyk.

Winde said the Western Cape government aimed to do more with less.

“We are leveraging funding from different sources and spheres of government to improve our province’s tourism sector,” he said.

Philip Bam, of the greater Steenberg Retreat Civic Association and deputy chairman of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, said development needed to be appropriate and to take Khoi heritage into consideration.

“Promised job creation needs to be sustainable. The idea (of job creation) should not be oversold.”

Bam cautioned that the dune system and other sensitive areas needed to be protected.

Guesthouse owners’ perceptions that the False Bay coast was dangerous would need to be turned around, said Chris von Ulmenstein, who is an owner and tourism expert.

“There are beautiful gems along False Bay. Muizenberg used to be a local tourist attraction, but no one has invested in the area in a long time. It will be great,” she said.

Communities are to be canvassed once the government signs its partnership agreement.

Winde said: “I am particularly excited about this project as it will bring in communities that were perhaps previously not given the opportunity to have a say in what becomes of their surroundings. The False Bay, Gordon’s Bay and Cape Point coastlines are among many locations we have earmarked for development.”

Similar projects are under way on the West Coast, such as at Cape Agulhas and in Lamberts Bay. – Cape Argus


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