Margate’s pride: Fishing pier wins ‘best project’ award

2011-09-07 00:00

HIBISCUS Coast Municipality (HCM) has received a prestigious award thanks to the good workmanship put into the Margate Fishing Pier Rehabilitation Project.

The project won the 2011 award for excellence in civil engineering of the South African Institute of Civil Engineering.

The annual banquet, held in Pietermaritzburg last Saturday evening, saw the project win the award in the category for best community-based project.

HCM closed the pier in 2007 for safety reasons, but it was determined to save this asset for local fishermen, the community and the tourism industry.

The rehabilitation of the fishing pier was completed in November 2010.

“A study by SSI Engineers & Environmental Consultants showed that substantial portions of the existing structure could be preserved and that the replacement of the deck was a feasible and economic solution,” said Robin Hayes, the consultants’ spokesperson.

After consulting the local community the professional team was able to put together the perfect deign, she added

“Environmental interest groups were involved in the entire process,” said Hayes. Unique solutions to engineering problems ensured the sustainability of the project, she added.

Stefanutti Stocks Civils, KwaZulu-Natal won the tender in May 2010.

“The major challenge was the tidal surges which persisted throughout the duration of the contract.”

Hayes said the contractor monitored weather patterns on a website to try to schedule work around the tidal surges.

“The completion of this project on time is testimony to the resilience and bravery of the men who strapped themselves to the pier, and sometimes to the rocks below to get the job done,” she said.

The project may have been a modest engineering project, but among the residents of the South Coast it has been received with acclaim and it continues to reflect the spirit of a project that crosses all social and cultural boundaries, added Hayes.

Hibiscus Coast Mayor Cynthia Mqwebu congratulated the team of officials who were involved in the implementation of the fishing pier project.

Said spokesperson Simon Soboyisa,“In these officials included are the HCM staff and councillors, consulting engineers and the construction company that did the sterling job.”

He said the issue of rehabilitating the fishing pier was a thorny one, as there was once a recommendation to demolish it.

However, he added, after thorough consideration the Hibiscus Coast council resolved to rehabilitate it.

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