Investor anxious to get floating entertainment venue on course

2012-06-27 00:00

MIDMAR dam could lose out on a lucrative tourism investment as an application for an entertainment vessel to go on the water awaits approval.

The investor, Tristan Taylor, fears that if authorities don’t give him the green light to put The Lady Sharon on the water, he’ll have to take it elsewhere, at huge cost and with much preparation.

Red tape and miscommunication appear to be stalling the process.

KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife has referred the application to the Department of Water Affairs in Pretoria, much to the shock of Taylor who brought the R2,5 million vessel, disassembled, down from the Vaal Dam on an abnormal load vehicle at a cost of R100 000.

“KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife said it has been approved in principle, but when we arrived it was a different story,” Taylor told The Witness.

Ezemvelo said their proposal had been submitted to the Water Affairs, which is in charge of issuing operating licences at Midmar Dam.

“It’s up to the Department of Water Affairs to make a decision,” said KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesperson, Musa Mntambo.

Water Affairs spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said the department is waiting for the couple’s application form, before they can be given a licence to operate at the dam.

However, the Taylors said they were not told they had to apply for a Water Affairs permit.

“Why were we not told this eight months ago?” Taylor’s asked.

“What’s so special about this boat is that it will create jobs and there’s nothing like this in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Taylor, a professional skipper.

He and his wife, Colleen, who operated the boat for nine years in the Vaal Dam, said they’ll outsource catering, which is guaranteed to bring new business to locals.

The vessel can accommodate up to 110 people, has an upper and lower deck, buffet station, full bar and swimming pool.

Taylor did not divulge what a cruise on the vessel at Midmar would cost, but said they charged R150 for a three-hour cruise in the Vaal Dam.

Midlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry president John Tungay was thrilled about the investment.

“From a labour point of view it’s exciting. It will also improve tourism,” Tungay added.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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