Work starts on beach

2010-10-13 00:00

THE Hibiscus Coast Municipality (HCM) yesterday launched its programme to give the Port Shepstone beachfront a much-needed facelift as work on a project to build a retaining wall along the promenade began.

The beachfront has been in a steady state of aesthetic decline in recent years and this was not helped by the severe floods that the South Coast experienced in June 2008, which caused extensive damage to beaches along the South Coast.

Port Shepstone beach itself has not yet recovered from the damage it sustained in the 2008 storms and flood, with concrete rubble now a common feature of the area.

The new wall, which will be about 400 meters long, will be structured to protect the promenade by absorbing the erosive impact of the waves.

HCM roads manager Gert Brits expects that the wall will take about six months to complete once the building begins.

Brits and his team yesterday excavated four large holes along the beach to gauge the depth of the sand before reaching rock — an exercise that Brits says is important in order to plan the building of the wall.

Brits said the construction material that will be used for the wall has yet to be confirmed.

“We have been approved for the soft option, which would mean the wall would be made out of bags filled with sand,” said Brits.

“But we have applied for the hard option — concrete, which would actually be cheaper to fund.”

Funding is an issue that will have to be continuously monitored throughout the Port Shepstone beach revamp, according to Simon Soboyisa, the HCM’s senior mayoralty and communications manager.

Soboyisa disclosed that it is also planned to revamp the abandoned building on the beachfront, which is commonly known as “Seychelles”.

“We are in the process of getting developers involved there and the matter has gone to tender,” said Soboyisa.

“But this [the retaining wall] is the first step in the process.”

Soboyisa said the HCM aims to return Port Shepstone beach to its former state.

“During the festive season it is still a popular destination, but not as popular as it used to be and it is our aim to get it back there,” said Soboyisa.

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