Bungee tower approved

A disputed plan to build a bungee tower in the Clocktower precinct at the V&A Waterfront has been approved by the Municipal Planning Tribunal.

The bungee tower, which will be built opposite the Chavonnes Battery Museum, will be a 50m high light structure with a viewing deck, and is intended to increase pedestrian activity along this part of the Waterfront.
According to the application, the V&A Waterfront is looking for new ways to attract tourists by providing diverse activities that complement the V&A experience.

The bungee tower will resemble a crane structure, and is only intended to be located there for three years.

It will be operated by the same team which runs the bungee operation at the Bloukrans River bridge in the Eastern Cape.

The spokesperson for the Waterfront, Donald Kau, said the desire for memorable and unique experiences by visitors is a drawcard for the Mother City. “We believe that this new experience (the bungee tower) within the V&A Waterfront precinct fits the bill.

“Our experience with similar operations on our precinct, such as the iconic Cape Wheel, a favourite with Capetonians, is that signature attractions of this nature, when well managed, add rather than detract from the overall appeal of the V&A Waterfront. We’re also a mixed use development precinct with a number of unique attractions and activities.

“We believe a bungee jump on the precinct would not only be a new experience drawcard for visitors but also give an appeal for visitors looking for a more adventure and thrill for their visit to the V&A Waterfront.”

However, neighbours of the future bungee tower were not too happy with the new attraction.

Hotels and residents in the precinct objected to the development, saying that the noise would be disturbing to hotel guests, that the bungee tower was not in keeping with the Waterfront, and that additional traffic would be generated as a result of the bungee tower, among other complaints.

In a letter of objection penned by the Victoria and Alfred Hotel’s general manager Andy Nold, he expressed concern about the screeching in the day time of people using the bungee tower.

“We already have buskers and general piazza noise to contend with at the V&A Hotel.

“After recent and substantial investment to the ground floor of this property…. we believe that the introduction of this activity is a risk to the business.”

The Cape Grace Hotel has also strongly objected to the activity, with general manager Sandy Pollard saying that their guests would be subjected to constant screaming and noise pollution. “Guests are regularly inconvenienced by the noise emanating from the working harbour. The proposed bungee tower would exacerbate this situation.”

In the letter, she also wrote that they believe the structure was not in keeping with the overall look of the V&A Waterfront, and that they were concerned about the increase in traffic in an already congested area, that would result from the development.

Some residents of the Marina also objected, saying that the bungee tower would be an eyesore, that traffic would become more congested, and that the screaming would cause disturbance.

Resident Mel Hesse said she felt the Waterfront was already overdeveloped and struggling to accommodate the multitudes that visited every day and even more over weekends.

Mr Kau said the V&A Waterfront had noted objections from hotel tenants and believed the operating hours granted for the operation would address some of the concerns.

The operating hours will be:

From October to April: Mondays to Thursdays from 9am until 7pm; and Fridays and Saturdays from 9am until 8pm.

From April to October: Monday to Thursdays from 9am until 6pm; and Fridays and Saturdays from 9am until 7pm.

On Sundays and public holidays, the tower will operate from 10am until 6pm.

Mr Kau said the bungee tower would open next year, but the exact date was yet to be confirmed.

In its development application, the V&A Waterfront had noted that the structure would be a crane-like structure, which was a strong feature in the Waterfront and that it would be simple and easy to dismantle.

They also said that while lower than the other Silo buildings, it had been designed to be similar in appearance to other harbour elements in aesthetic, colour and profile.