Archive for June, 2011

Oceana Power Boat Club’s future still in doubt

With the V&A Waterfront having recently changed hands, the members of the Oceana Power Boat Club, based at the Waterfront, are again worried about the future of their club.

They occupy a prime area, at the entrance to the Waterfront, but this is the only safe small-craft slipway in an area extending from Hout Bay to Yzerfontein – a coastline of 150 kilometres. So alternatives are few and very far between.

The Club has used the current site since been granted the right to operate in 1974 by the then Minister of Transport, and has provided valuable and safe access to the sea for small craft users, from all walks of life, for close to 40 years.

The club is currently on a month-to-month lease with the V&A. In 2002 they were given notice to vacate their premises and the club started a campaign to maintain its present location – the notice was withdrawn after the Commodore of the club secured the backing of local government. An alternate site proposed by the V&A, beyond the existing container terminal, was roundly condemned by independent experts as unsafe for small-craft boating.

Club Commodore, Colin Wolfsohn said that they had received no communication from the new Waterfront owners. Except being told not to panic. The problem is there is no other alternative and this has been extensively researched. The slipway is protected from the south easter, the north wester and is used by thousands of people every month, not just recreational users but many of Cape Town’s fishermen who rely on this slipway for their livelihood.

Besides the fishermen and recreational users the slipway is also used by NSRI, UCT, the Two Oceans Aquarium, the navy on occasion, and various events also use this vital little piece of the V&A Waterfront as a base for  Robben Island or other events.

There is talk of the new owners setting aside R4bn for additional development and an areas of 200 000m² is being spoken of, which includes the Granger Bay area. But the club has no guarantees that they won’t be in for a fight for the future of the club.

Growthpoint executive Director, Estienne de Klerk, has been quoted in the press as saying, “in the original transaction when Transnet first sold the land they were under an obligation to provide a new facility for the club.”

The solution is to fix up what exists there and make it work for everyone including the new landlords. That may involve putting up a new building, which could incorporate a restaurant to compensate the owners, and a fish market has also being proposed, providing fishermen with an outlet to sell their wares, they currently use Mouille Point, and add an additional tourist attraction to the Waterfront.

The ideal solution, according to Wolfsohn, would be for the V&A to cede the land to the city, and allow the club to continue their work in providing a safe slipway to the many small craft owners in Cape Town and continuing to ensure all safety requirements are met.

One thing that sets the V&A Waterfront apart from many others in the world is that it stands alongside a working harbour. Sure you can eat your meals, enjoy a cocktail and shop till you drop, but at the same time real life harbour work goes on around you; from larger fishing trawlers offloading their daily catch to container ships offloading their goods, many of which will be sold in the centre to ocean liners bringing in tourists from around the world.

The Oceana Power Boat Club is part of this ongoing sea life and it adds a vital component to the Waterfront, one that makes it special – besides offering a livelihood to many, it also adds character and charm to the country’s top tourist attraction.

Barry Washkansky

My first run as a new dad – Old Fishermen’s Trail Challenge 2007

Barry Washkansky

Celebrating my son’s 4th birthday this week and with the Old Fisherman’s Trail Challenge being run tomorrow (11 June) it reminded me of a letter that I wrote to Runnersworld magazine four years ago.

The idea was to win first prize on the letter’s page, a decent running watch. So I wrote my letter and waited for it to appear and be informed of my pending prize.  But no, despite my best literary efforts and a very cute pic of the scoops, I was published but did not win the first prize.

Nope – some story about someone bumping into a famous rugby player while running on the road won first prize – who the hell is Francois Pienaar anyway?

So no glory but still a cute letter I think – hard to believe its been four years. Happy birthday Scoops!



The letter – Runners World 2007

”With my 2-week old baby boy lying snugly next to his mother it was with some trepidation that I headed off for my first run as a new dad. Having spent almost every moment with him and his mom since he made his unexpected early arrival I didn’t know if I was ready to desert the nest just yet. But I had entered the race not expecting to be a dad at the time. Things somehow were just not what they used to be.

Being a trail junkie, early morning starts for cold mountain runs are the norm, especially in the winter months. But what had changed?

I used to set my alarm to get up in time, now I was already up. I used to do some gentle early morning stretches, now I watched my boy stretch as he woke up. I used to have a pre-race meal at home, now I watched my son feed and I munched down a bar-one in the car on the way to the start. I used to take gentle runs across the mountains enjoying the scenery, now I PB’d to the finish so I could get home quicker to see my Scoops. I used to switch my phone off until race-end, now I regularly checked-in to see if my son had eaten, farted, burped or pood. I used to enjoy many leisurely beers after a run, now I wolfed down a couple and raced home to be with my kid.

Yip, life will never quite be the same again and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”