Complete the Hermanus Cliff Path
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Complete the Cliff Path
Regular walkers must have wondered why the cliff path stops at Mollergren Park, forcing one back to the main road to swallow petrol fumes for a kilometre or so before it starts again at Protea Road?
Well, it appears that the reason for this is that the owners on this stretch were granted exclusive rights up to the high water mark. How this could have happened is something which we are investigating. For the moment we would like to test whether there is support from the public to change this situation. To this end, we have launched a petition on https://www.change.org under the heading “Complete the Cliff Path”.
As you will gather from the website, the main motivation for change is to create a world-class 12 km walkway for locals and visitors stretching all the way from the New Harbour to Grotto Beach. We believe that the affected property owners should support the petition as well. It will considerably enhance their own experience of this beautiful coastline and increase the value of their properties.
As things stand, the area is barely used and if you have ever been in there you will immediately understand why.
To begin with, it is filthy down there. Plastic bottles and whatever else washes up from the sea, lie everywhere amongst rotting kelp. See the photos on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/hermanuscliffpath/
It is also an environmental disaster. When some of us walked there the other day, we came across a broken storm water pipe, with some smelly stuff oozing onto the beach (see photo). One owner constructed his swimming pool pump station into the rocks and appears to back wash into the sea (see photo).
But the most important issue of course is that the public has a right to access to the sea front, now entrenched in the Integrated Coastal Management Act 24 of 2008 (ICMA). See Section 13(1). This right is violated by the fences which have been erected by the owners on both the Mollergren and the Protea Road sides.
To sum it up: we want to walk there and the cliff path must be connected for us.
We hope that the owners will see the light and join our petition. We realise that the topography will present some challenges for the connection of the path and that great care should be taken with the design thereof so that the privacy of the owners are not unduly invaded. But these details can be discussed during a public consultation process and once the owners agree, in principle, to the path.
If they don’t, and we get to our target of 1000 supporters of our petition we will take the matter further, and litigate if necessary. Hopefully the Municipality will support us. The Mayor has after all committed himself to a developmental agenda for Hermanus.
So against this background, we call on you to go to the change.org website and to sign the petition, add a comment or an idea and see us in a year or two on the connected cliff path!
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