Surfers salute golden upgrade

2009-01-23 00:00

Residents, business owners and the surfing fraternity have given the thumbs-up to plans by the eThekwini Municipality to upgrade Durban’s Golden Mile as part of the preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

At a public meeting in Durban, hundreds of residents, business owners, fishermen and surfers voiced their concerns and suggestions for the R150 million project, which plans to extend the beachfront promenade from Ushaka beach to the Umgeni River mouth.

Plans also include redeveloping facilities at Addington Beach, New Beach and Mini Town.

The head of the eThekwini’s strategic projects unit, Julie-May Ellingson, said the city’s long-term vision is to create a continuous promenade from the Point area to Blue Lagoon, where people can jog, walk their dogs and cycle.

She said the new promenade will be 20 metres wide and will maximise public access to the beachfront. “One of the development principles was to provide a range of green spaces, which would encourage a range of recreational activities,” she said.

Ellingson said the proposal to upgrade the promenade includes replacement of street furniture and lighting from uShaka Beach through to Blue Lagoon. The extended promenade will also link the Durban central beachfront to the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“This upgrade is not only about upgrading the existing promenade. The city will also address existing problems like broken rubbish bins and street lamps.”

Most of the people at the meeting raised concerns over crime on the beachfront and wanted to know what was being done to curb criminal activity.

Gaeleen van den Bergh said that the SAPS station on North Beach needs an upgrade and that patrols on roads behind the Golden Mile should be stepped up. She also suggested that pedestrian crossings and traffic calmings need to be included in the upgrade.

Others suggested that the city add more play parks for children and also address the high numbers of street children that loiter on the beachfront.

The surfing community also voiced their concern over “deteriorating” piers. Surfers want more surfer resources and even suggested that an artificial reef be constructed to attract more tourists.

Ellingson said pier upgrades are being undertken by a special maintenance team and the reef idea is being considered.

The public have until January 30 to submit comments and suggestions for the draft basic assessment report. The comment form can be downloaded from www.durban.gov.za.

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