'Take a flying jump': hotels fume over bungee
V&A Waterfront hotels say new bungee towers will ruin guests' stay, but city says jumpers won't scream loudly
Two top Cape Town hotels’ worst nightmare is about to descend on them – from a dizzying height.
Last week the City of Cape Town approved a 50m bungee-jumping tower at the V&A Waterfront despite objections from the nearby Cape Grace and Victoria & Alfred hotels.
They said jumpers’ screams would be unbearable for their guests and the structure would be unsightly.
Cape Grace managing director Sandy Pollard said the tower – across the water in the Clock Tower Precinct – would threaten the hotel’s business.
“As you are aware, we operate a luxury five-star hotel and as such attract extremely discerning and particular clients,” she said in her objection.
“Given the location of the proposed bungee jump, our guests would be subjected to constant screaming and noise pollution, which would compromise and prejudice our business operations.”Pollard said the structure would be unsightly and would lead to a considerable increase in Waterfront traffic.
“Our penthouses and most expensive apartments look directly onto the proposed site and we are concerned that a bungee jump would prevent our guests from being able to use their balconies to enjoy the view and tranquillity,” she said.
“In recent months the hotel has had to pay considerable compensation to guests as a result of the various building works currently taking place in the V&A. Guests are also regularly inconvenienced by noise emanating from the working harbour.
“In our view the proposed bungee jump would substantially exacerbate this situation, both in terms of the construction work and the subsequent ongoing noise.”
Andy Nold, general manager of the V&A Waterfront Hotel, said “we believe that the screeching in the daytime will be an issue”.
In his objection, he added: “We already have the buskers and general piazza noise to contend with. After the recent and substantial investment to the ground floor of this property … coupled with our premium mountain-facing rooms being directly exposed to the proposed bungee-jumping operation, we believe the introduction of this activity to [be] a risk to the business.”
But the city council approved the proposal after the operators – who also run the 216m Bloukrans Bridge bungee at Tsitsikamma on the Garden Route – said only one in 20 jumpers screams, and “when they do it’s not a loud scream as they almost lose their voice”.Nold declined to comment on the council’s decision. “We were the first tenants here, we have been here for 27 years,” he said. “We wouldn’t have objected unless we felt strongly about it.”
Mike Williams, one of the shareholders in the bungee operation, said he would meet his partners on Monday to discuss when work would start on the tower.
It is expected to operate for three years and accommodate 18 jumpers an hour. They will leap off over the water on a corner of the dock next to the Nedbank building.
“I am not sure if there is a right to appeal in there which also needs to be discussed. We are very happy that the go-ahead has been given,” Williams said.