Blue Lagoon still a long way off

2014-01-09 00:00

THE eThekwini Municipality has failed to meet the deadline set for itself on completion of the Blue Lagoon beach upgrade, allegedly because of the change in the scope of the work.

Now, DA caucus leader in the eThekwini Metro Zwakhele Mngcwango claims poor planning by the city has delayed the project, which forms part of the revamp of Durban’s beaches at a cost of more than R100 million.

This included reconstruction of the Laguna swimming pools, where plans were later amended to only revamping it. These revised plans apparently sat with the executive committee for “a couple of months” before a decision was reached.

This project, which also included an extension of cycle lanes, was supposed to be completed last March, but now the construction company will remain on the site until June, this year.

Contractor Vumani Civils CC is responsible for the upgrade at Blue Lagoon, Laguna pools, Durban Country Club and Sunkist Beach, which is the final phase of the central beachfront upgrade.

Yesterday, workers were busy with grass rehabilitation on site. The contractor refused to respond to questions about the development.

A man who described himself as the manager of Vumani said, “We have been asked by the city not to speak to media about the project”.

The upgrade of the Blue Lagoon area has been undergoing a major face-lift since 2010.

In 2012, city officials assured citizens that it would be “all systems go” at most tourist hotspots by March, 2013.

Mike Andrews, the deputy head of the city’s strategic projects unit, yesterday chanted a different tune on the deadline. He said the upgrade of the Blue Lagoon area forms part of the final phase of the central beachfront upgrade, between Sunkist Beach and Blue Lagoon Park.

“The project commenced in 2012,” he said

Andrews said the work has largely been completed with the exception of rock armour protection to the Blue Lagoon pier, which should be completed by the end of March. He said they also intend to construct facilities for traders on the pier “under a separate contract”, expected to commence by the end of January.

“This will require the central portion of the pier to remain closed for the next five months. But the final element of the Blue Lagoon upgrade should be complete by June 2014.

“There have been regrettable delays in the current contract due to various factors. The most notable [were] rain delays. Though the contract makes provision for anticipated [average] rain delays, rainfall figures in 2012 exceeded these averages,” said Andrews.

He also cited the rock armour protection works as well as the city’s decision to amend the Laguna pools plan as other areas where the project had been delayed.

The works have largely been completed and the promenade and beaches are now accessible to the public.

Two cyclists in the area, Caren Hart and Triston Prentice, yesterday described the development as majestic.

“Its nice to see this area like this. But it [construction] has been an inconvenience for many people for over the past two years.”

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