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Wednesday Oct 09, 2013

Durban 'saves R120m' by keeping pools

The eThekwini municipality has stuck to its guns on changes to plans for the Durban beachfront promenade and will keep the Laguna Pools, despite former city manager Michael Sutcliffe's suggestion that the pools be demolished.

The Laguna Pools on Durban's beachfront.

Sutcliffe had proposed that the pools be removed to create enough space to widen the promenade sufficiently.

City manager S'bu Sithole told the executive committee yesterday that the initial contract was for the pools to be demolished but, when the plan was reviewed, it was decided they should remain.

He said the decision saved the council about R120 million.

'After speaking with various stakeholders, it was decided that it was not necessary to demolish the pools but to rather refurbish them in line with the ambience of the area.'
Sithole said the additional work that was required included rock armour protection around the Blue Lagoon groyne (pier area).

The council yesterday approved the amendment of the budget from R6.8m to R9.1m for the second phase of the upgrade between Blue Lagoon and Sunkist Beach. Sutcliffe said he was in no position to comment on the council decision.

'I don't know the context because I wasn't part of the process. I'm not here to shadow or monitor the council,' he said. Earlier this year, Sutcliffe objected to the changes, saying they would create a new hazard for traffic, cyclists, walkers and bathers by constricting the new promenade.

The initial plan was intended to encourage the use of the entire promenade, from uShaka Marine World in the south to Blue Lagoon in the north, by establishing a wider promenade and creating a more effective pedestrian walkway and cycling corridor.

To do this, it would have been necessary to demolish the 26-year-old pools and build new pools at Blue Lagoon, where there was more space for recreation, bus turning circles and parking bays.

MF councillor Patrick Pillay said: 'I commend the city manager for the decision. This is one of the greatest decisions to retain the pools and save council R120m.'
DA caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango accused the municipality of 'poor planning' and justified the decision to save costs.

The Mercury


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