A Cape Town Military Heritage Route ? 358
For many years the Hout Bay Heritage Association has advocated their support for the creation of a “Military Heritage Route” as the Cape Peninsula was once the most heavily defended locations in the Southern Hemisphere of International importance.
Also for years we have liaised with the City and Province with plans for such a trail but as the sites are all controlled by our heritage agencies and their tiered administration system, to date we have been unsuccessful. Finally, in Sept 2016 the City’s Tourism Development Department decided to “Go it alone” and linked a trail of three destinations that are “tourism ready” and hence only need visitors to arrive. The sites have all been around for many years. The only investment was in the form of pamphlets! However, they may have opened the door for expansion!
There are some amazing heritage gems out there in the 30 Municipalities of the Western Cape and I’m sure that each municipality has at least one heritage site that could attract tourists in a significant way. Local economies need sustainable job creation and if our heritage authorities would allow partnerships via Heritage Agreements to take place there is no doubt that some important dormant sites could become heritage tourism destinations. However, for this to happen it needs vision, business skills and above all viable business plans which will make sites self sustainable. Many of the sites will be state owned and they need to be partnered with community based Conservation Bodies who can qualify as partners with owners and heritage authorities to make such sites a tourism success. But the Business Plan is the key and seed funding the catalyst. Without such plans we will all lose in one way or another. A classic and expensive example is on the left: -
It’s very hard work raising funds, but it’s even more disappointing when you have worked so hard but finally told that you cannot accept the grant!
Ironically the Hour Bay and Llandudno’s Heritage Association’s East Fort Project was granted a substantial sum for conservation work at the Fort donated by the State Lottery, but the Association was unable to accept the grant as they did not have a Heritage Agreement or any legal tenure with the responsible parties for the site (TMNP, HWC, SANDF, DPW) hence the grant did not materialise.
By comparisson, the conservation of heritage sites funded through heritage tourism, could be viable could and make much more financial sense!
A nation that turns its back on its history, the lessons and experiences of the past, good or bad, undermines the foundations of its future.
Here’s some fund raising ideas from INTO
As well as the above, a “World Class” Military Heritage Route needs to include, Robben Island, Fort Wynyard, the Apostle Battery, Hout Bay’s East and West Forts, Simon’s Town’s Scala Battery, Middle North Battery, and the Battle of Blaauwberg site.