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Monday Dec 04, 2017

Durban beach facelift scheduled for next year

Construction on the extension of Durban's beachfront promenade will start next month as soon as the festive season is over.

Yesterday eThekwini Municipality announced that R300 million had been budgeted for the promenade project, which will extend along Vetch's Beach and allow residents and visitors to walk down to the harbour entrance.

An artist's representation of the proposed new promenade and development of the Point Waterfront.

"The project starts from uShaka (Moyo Pier) and is a continuous elevated structure spanning 750m and 30m wide, reaching the northern breakwater (harbour entrance channel)," said Tozi Mthethwa, eThekwini Municipality's head of communications.

Provision has been made below the elevated structure for the Point Watersports Club facilities, along with a dedicated launch site for boating activities.

The northern side beach facilities and amenities will include change and ablution rooms for bathers and staff facilities.

The city also confirmed that public and dedicated parking for clubs would be provided underneath the promenade, while restaurant facilities would be leased to operators.

An amphitheatre for beach events would be in the centre of the promenade.

The announcement of the project ushers in Phase 1 investment of the Point Waterfront development, which includes a residential tower, retail mall and hotel. Also in the plans are multi-storey structures offering residential, office, retail and leisure infrastructure.

Mthethwa said: "The total investment of the project is between R30 billion to R35 billion which will contribute annual rates of R200 million.

"This will also result in the creation of 11 000 construction jobs and 6 750 permanent jobs."

Transnet is responsible for the promenade from the harbour's edge and, according to the city, discussions are under way to link the promenade to the planned cruise terminal.

The announcement on the extended beachfront promenade follows hot on the heels of the city detailing a planned clean-up in the Mahatma Gandhi Road area.

This week, sister newspaper the Daily News reported that Phillip Sithole, acting deputy city manager for economic development and planning, said investors were reluctant to travel through the "crime and grime" of Mahatma Gandhi Road, which leads to the Point Waterfront development.

Sithole said urban renewal was planned for the area, adding: "We are getting extra capacity to deal with these challenges and by the beginning of next year it's going to be all systems go.

"A budget exists for these challenges and we are partnering with civic organisations including the SA Property Owners Association and the Durban Chamber of Commerce."

The watersport clubs based at Vetch's Pier have moved from their former premises and the developers will demolish the old buildings.

The Independent on Saturday

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