The Coega Daily Commute (CDC) is a great concept for health, wealth and planet. The CDC has been a constant ritual since 2008 and my 22km commute from Central to Coega has become somewhat of an institution. Over the years I have, inter alia, commented on:
- Reflections on Cycling to Work
- Celebrating the opening of a bicycle path
- Congratulations to Municipal done to law enforcement
- How to help the cycle commuter
- Other trail users
The CDC Green Lane extends from the Papenkuils River to Coega and is part of a municipal vision for a 40km recreational path from Schoenmakerskop to Coega. Cape Recife to the PE Port and Papenkuils to Coega is complete (about 25km), but, only Admiralty to Kings Beach is fully functional. The functional bit is one of Nelson Mandela Metro’s most popular recreational activities, and it cost next to nothing (don’t factor in the useless “wooden walkways” which was total wasteful expenditure).
My focus is on the Papenkuils to Coega corridor, a fantastic facility, but, blighted by neglect, like most of the City’s Northern beaches. My commuting experience has been marred by two incidents and you can download GPS track logs as follows:
Close consideration of the Heart Rate Logs indicates a spike to about 180 beats per minute at 33°50’19.25″S, 25°38’49.24″E. That’s the effect of three people trying to force you off your bike with a gun and knives. In both instances I got away by riding into the perpetrators with my bike, somehow staying on, and getting away, thankfully with no injury or loss of property.
So how do we fix this and get real Green Lanes going (go to this site for an explanation of Green Lanes)? Fighting fire with fire and pure security measures are not the answer.
A holistic solution is required which places an emphasis on corridor development which includes a broad cross section of society. On the day of the incident, The Herald (a local newspaper) editorial stated:
“This is why such urgent attention needs to be given to other major but marginalised beaches likes Wells Estate, which has been bedeviled by security issues for years. Although facilities and infrastructure at Wells have been markedly improved, the assurance by sport, recreation, arts and culture portfolio chairman Andiswa Mama that efforts are under way to see this beach achieve the same prestigious status must not fizzle out into an idle promise.”
The Northern beaches have been totally neglected and despite considerable infrastructure investment, they are recreationally unusable for the following reasons:
- The Wells Estate car park and the bike path is a carpet of glass, even out of season
- Security is virtually non-existent and disinterested beyond warding scrap metal thieves
- Commercial facilities are poor and entrepreneurs make a plan with containers.
- Access is not controlled, with people streaming across the N2 and the unprotected Motherwell interchange bridge
- Critical Biodiversity Areas are affected by poaching and recreational impacts
- Lifesaving capacity is limited and needs to be broadened in terms of focus
- Facilities are neglected and not maintained
- Cleansing is sporadically undertaken
The Municipal website even lives under the illusion that the chalets at the Joost Park Holiday Resort is still operational (they closed in 2001). The following is an extract from the municipal website as at 12 October 2015
A holistic approach to the development and maintenance of the Northern coastal corridor is required to enable the type of vision as articulated in a previous blog. Officials working in isolation and massive capital investments will not result in progress. Progress will come from ordinary people getting together and making things happen. I therefore appeal to the portfolio chairman, Councillor Andiswa Mama to facilitate a simple meeting of interested parties to facilitate action. Those parties should include:
Ward 60 Councillor for Wells Estate; Beaches, Resorts and Events Management; Cleansing; Safety and Security; Wells Estate Lifesaver, SAPS; Environmental Management; Zwartkops Trust; Sidewalks and Verges; Provincial Roads.
Such a meeting can, among’st other things, result in:
- The recreational path being cleaned
- A security incident reporting protocol
- Cleansing of the car park
- Interventions to address peak season impacts
- A plan for the Motherwell interchange
- Development of commercial facilities
- Development of recreational facilities and opportunities
- Fencing off the N2 and access control to Wells Estate
The trends are available for all to see. The deterioration and mayhem of the Northern Beaches is forcing people to the Southern Beaches at considerable personal expense to those who can least afford it. You cannot have a good time when glass is cutting your children’s feet to ribbons.