Sardinia Bay lifesavers homeless

2016-08-31 06:00
: The adjacent Ski Boat Club premises.      Photo: morne du randt

: The adjacent Ski Boat Club premises. Photo: morne du randt

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Sue Hoffman, Club Secretary, says that the clubhouse is not unsafe, and claims that it is the Ski Boat Club located next to their building that is run-down. “The SBSLC have maintained their clubhouse over the years,” Hoffman said.

“Our lifesavers are family people who have given of their time for 44 years willingly for the Port Elizabeth public, expecting nothing in return.”

New proposed site in parking area

The SBSLC committee have been in negotiations with the NMBM since May for both temporary and long-term solutions or alternatives to the demolition.

The NMBM Coastal Management section has identified an area for the new clubhouse, which is in a parking area, with no view of the ocean. Furthermore, Godfrey Murrel, Acting Director of Environmental Management, is hoping to have the new area ready in December, by which time the swimming season will be well underway.

According to George Branford, a member of NMBM Coastal Management, the reason that the preparation of the new site is not running parallel to the demolition of the old one, is due to the fact that they had to put the request in to the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) and are still awaiting response.

“The demolition cannot be postponed either, as the municipality has to either use the money set aside for it or lose it altogether,” Branford said.

There is, however, a proposed solution for the lack of sea view for when the new clubhouse is erected in the parking area. The NMBM Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture (EDTA) Directorate are currently sourcing quotations for two movable lifeguard towers, which would allow the lifesaver/s on duty to have line of sight with the beach/bathing area as well as visual contact with members who are stationed at the new proposed SBLSC site. Two way radios would further assist communication.

“Our hand has also been forced to a degree with regard to our expenditure and the very real fact of losing unspent funds with the up and coming Municipal budget review period,” said Branford.

Hoffman reckons that without a permanent structure, the club stands to lose all its current members, and rebuilding a new team can take up to five years.

“Without seeming unreasonable, we are receiving no financial compensation at all for the destruction of our club.”

Hoffman added that due to the confusion created by the situation, and lack of a permanent structure, there is a real possibility that the voluntary lifesaving for this season will be suspended.

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