Rising sea levels threaten Cape Town’s coasts

Ocean Source: Google Images

Concerns are mounting regarding the Mother City’s coastal properties as rising sea levels caused by global warming could call for a retreat to high lying areas. The Milnerton coast in particular is fighting against being swallowed by the ocean, and stormy weather has lead to heavy erosion of parts of the beach’s infrastructure.

Options are being assessed by the City of Cape Town and may include a plan to retreat part of the Milnerton coast according to Mayco member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

Milnerton Beach following stormy weather last year.

A report from newly-appointed City Engineers has identified some of the main risks the City’s coastlines are facing, and detailed vulnerable structures in the Milnerton area. The report will soon be available to the public.

Sea Point, Glencairn, Blouberg and Hout Bay are also being affected by rising sea levels.

Blouberg beach earlier this year.

“The City recognises the importance of coastal infrastructure and amenities that now require significant investment as they have been under funded. The budget and investment is and must now be made incrementally available over the next few years as a priority. Given that Cape Town is a coastal metro in a storm-prone area, the risks from climate change induced sea-level rise are significant. This is not a problem unique to Cape Town, but a global phenomenon,” says Nieuwoudt.

One of the City’s main concerns is that public and private infrastructure will become increasingly at risk to coastal processes such as erosion, and beaches as public recreational spaces have been identified as likely to become increasingly at risk in developed areas of the metro in the long-term.

According to Nieuwoudt, each area requires a unique planning intervention.

“It is for this reason that in some instances retreat may be feasible, while in others it may not. The City is currently assessing options which include retreat for a section of the coast in Milnerton as one of Cape Town’s erosion ‘hotspots’ and this report will be made available in due course,” she adds

The following projects received budget which was spent in the last financial year:

– Fishermans Lane Parking revetment: R3,5 million

– Big Bay rehabilitation: R3,8 million

– Clifton walkway repair: R200 000

– Hout Bay dune rehabilitation: R6 million – ongoing

The following projects are currently underway with funding:

– Fishermans Lane Upgrade: R26 Million

– Demolition of derelict infrastructure: R 5 million

– Macassar pavilion

– Defunct ablutions etc.

– Glencairn Beach precinct upgrade: R3,5 million