Emerging commercial fisherman, from previously disadvantaged communities, comprise a large number of those boaters using the OPBC facility.
The Oceana Power Boat Club (OPBC), located at Granger Bay within the V&A Waterfront environs, is the only slipway for small craft in the Cape Town precinct. It has provided a valuable service to boaters for more than 25 years.
Existing site under threat
The OPBC has received notice of termination of its existing lease from the V&A Waterfront, effective March 2002.
Limited launch facilities on western seaboard
Along the 150-kilometre coast of the western seaboard, the only small-craft launch sites exist at Hout Bay, Yzerfontein and Granger Bay (the OPBC). There are more than 7 000 registered boat users along this seaboard, and the OPBC alone facilitates thousands of non-member launchings each year.
The OPBC has a vision for the future
The OPBC believes that the land currently under dispute should be ceded to the City of Cape Town for the use of the greater community. The City of Cape Town has endorsed the continued availability of a small-craft slipway within the City environment.
No substitute for safety
Cape Town is world renowned for its winds, anathema to small-craft boaters. Studies, real-life experience and the endorsement of a variety of professional bodies confirm the high safety factor of the existing OPBC slipway.
Financial impact on commercial fishing sector
Emerging commercial fishermen from previously disadvantaged communities comprise a large number of the boaters using the OPBC facility. The closure of this slipway would have a massive negative impact on their livelihood and the vast network of people relying on them for fresh fish - from both a work and a nutrient perspective.
Slipway used by local boating enterprises
Cape Town and its environs is home to more than 20 businesses that derive their income from boat-related sales and repair activities. The OPBC provides a vital launch facility for the testing and demonstration of boats.
Key launch site for the NSRI
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), South Africa's pre-eminent sea emergency and rescue service, requires a small-craft launch facility as an important component of its overall rescue strategy. With response time being the single most critical issue in rescue work, the safe slipway at the OPBC has played an important role in the NSRI's operations for 26 years.
An integral part of Cape Town life
Fishing, and the livelihood derived from fishing, has been an integral part of Cape Town life since 1652. The V&A Waterfront has styled its development along the 'working harbour' concept, a key element of its allure and charm. There is no single event or transaction that better epitomises a typical Cape scene than the negotiation and sale of a snoek from a fisherman just returned from the sea to an eager buyer.
Development plans envisaged by the OPBC include the formalisation of a small and controlled fish market falling under the authority of the club. The colourful characters and lively bustle that characterise such markets have proven to be a tourist attraction throughout the world, and could likely become a magnet for tourists, adding an insight into the unique charm of Cape life.
Supported by a variety of organisations
The launch facility at the OPBC provides a service to a number of governmental, institutional, law-enforcement and rescue services. At the same time, the needs of the recreational power boater - the very reason for the establishment of the club - should not be ignored.