The inside story of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The future of Granger Bay

Ever since investigations for Cape Town’s new small craft harbour started in 1979, Granger Bay was regarded as the cherry in future development, but one with considerable challenges.  At that time, Granger Bay was regarded as the only available location for a small craft harbour although there were calls for SA Transport Services to make Victoria Basin available and to flood the old quarry for additional moorings.
(This is a story in progress.)

A 1:80 model of Granger Bay had been built at the behest of the Fisheries Development Corporation (then responsible for SA’s small harbours) at the CSIR’s wave-modelling facility at Stellenbosch. That team was headed by Prof. Deon Retief (also a member of the Minister’s Waterfront Steering Committee).  They tested viable breakwater configurations and wave surges in the deeper waters.

Wave tank analysis at the CSIR in Stellenbosch

In 1982 a presentation and report was given to Dr Gerrit Viljoen, minister of sport.  The illustration of the proposal for Granger Bay was prepared by Louis Karol Architects working with the late Rob Meek from GAPP and Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC).

It was essentially a new and permanent home for RCYC and base for the Cape-to-Rio yacht races — one of the few sports SA could still participate in at that time.

Granger Bay proposal by Louis Karol Architects
Portion of the landside component of Granger Bay in 1989 - mainly reclaimed land.
Portion of the landside component of Granger Bay in 1989 - mainly reclaimed land.

All the V&A’s planning over 18 years — from 1989 until the Atkins Report prepared for the foreign owners in 2007 — showed revised options for the development of Granger Bay.  The Atkins proposal was never adopted by the V&A’s board because it was not financially feasible. But this was a board that never invested anything into the development of V&A Waterfront.  In fact, the only investment the foreign owners made into V&AW was the $100,000 that the Atkins Report cost in professional fees.  (There is a QR code link to the full report in the print & eBook versions of The Waterfront Story.)

Urban Design Plan from the 2007 Atkins Report

The following are some of the designs produced between 1989 and 2006 (click on an image to open a slide show and please note that the dates on some of the images are incorrect):

What is expected for Granger Bay’s future now?

While the Atkins Report was declared financially not feasible, the planning environment has changed too.  Land reclamation from the sea has been moved from a Provincial responsibility to a National responsibility, which could make permissions far more difficult to achieve.  Black economic empowerment conditions could also limit, top-end, exclusive apartments and the viability of the marina. 

The Heatherwick Studio — responsible for the redevelopment of the old Grain Silos for Zeitz MOCAA — has been appointed to prepare proposals for the development of Granger Bay.  David Green doesn’t like talking about a project until it is a fait accompli, so the public can’t expect to see any more planning proposals until it is cast in stone.


One Response

  1. Unless a solid concrete breakwater system could be built, including the 22 meter piling deep enough to make a safe breakwater into the water rock base protruding down from Lions Head, the southern ocean winter swells will surely win.
    This is the reason the area from the mouth of the Salt River towards Woodbridge Island is a future growth node for the City population and beach pleasure site. Bill

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