Hermanus residents are calling for public support of a new project to create a world-class 12-km walkway for locals and visitors stretching all the way from the New Harbour to Grotto Beach.
The Hermanus Cliff Path Project aims to connect two separate coastal walkways across one of the town’s most scenic stretches of coastline, a region commonly known as Pooles Bay.
The existing cliff path follows a route from the Klein River Estuary in the East to the New Harbour in the west but is broken for almost 1km by thirteen linked private properties which have property rights up to the high watermark.
Regular walkers must thus head from the end of the cliff path stops at Mollegren Park and then head onto the main road for about a kilometre before the path begins again on Protea Road.
The Pooles Bay coastline borders the Walker Bay Whale Sanctuary Marine Protected Area and the Fernkloof nature reserve. The site has various geographical conditions, steeply angled cliffs, horizontal bedrock and loose pebbled beach areas.
The plan proposes a man-made concrete pathway along the high watermark to allow linked public access from Sea Road to Mollegren Park.
The Hermanus Cliff Path Project Action Group has put out a call for locals to email in their support of the project as part of the public participation process of the Environmental Impact Assessment done by Kozette Myburgh of Ecosense Consultants.
“Why will the Number 1 tourist attraction in our town be split in two separate parts and the only way currently to connect results in walking next to a notoriously busy Main Road? It just doesn’t make sense,” they argue.
According to the Facebook group, however, they have received some pushback from local residents who own private property in Pooles Bay and are not welcoming of tourists using the walkway.
“All 70 route markers were very quickly pulled out by some homeowners along the route. Some owners even act with antagonistic behaviour towards holidaymakers and fellow ratepayers whilst passing their properties,” says the group.
“In all other areas of Hermanus it is accepted by all to share public open space with the influx of holidaymakers over the festive season, take for instance parking and sharing beach space at Voëlklip, Nannies and Langbaai yet in Pooles Bay sharing the coastline is actively opposed. When will it dawn on the owners of Pooles Bay that their properties end at the High Water Mark and every part of the coast seaside of the HWM is part of Public Open Space?”
If you are in favour of this project, please send an e-mail to Kozette Myburgh at [email protected] to express your support.
To find out more about the project, click HERE.
Picture: Facebook / Hermanus Cliff Patch Project Action Group