Durban's R200m beach upgrade
Durban - Durban’s Golden Mile will have a completely different beachfront with a spectacular 6km promenade and posh restaurants on May 30, the city said on Friday.
City manager Dr Mike Sutcliffe said the R200m beach upgrades would be completed before the World Cup.
It was recently speculated that the upgrades would not be completed before the start of the tournament on June 11.
"I would like to assure the public that the renovations will be finished before the World Cup."
"By May 30 lights will be installed to make the beachfront look glamorous," said Sutcliffe.
He said CCTV cameras would be installed along with electrical wiring.
On Friday, workers were busy putting the final touches to four restaurants decorated in yellow, red and green stones.
Grass and trees were also being planted along the promenade, which stretches from uShaka Marine World to the Suncoast Casino near the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The only thing that makes the beach area still look like a construction site are workers still busy with paving, drilling or final touches.
Some parking areas were still being constructed on Thursday.
On May 23, city councillors and residents would walk the beachfront to inspect the work done, Sutcliffe said.
He said the reason the city started the project in August was because it had wanted to finish the stadium first.
"It would have cost too much to do both projects at the same time. That is why we decided to focus on the stadium and then on the beachfront."
People interviewed at the beach said it was looking wonderful and different.
"The beachfront has changed a lot. It looks like a lot needs to be done though, but it looks nice," said Anne-Lisa Swanepoel, a tourist from Johannesburg.
Hawkers on the beachfront said they had lost a lot of money because a few people had visited the beach since construction started.
"Business is very slow. Our merchandise is being damaged because of the renovations and dust. No tourists come to this side of town because of the constructions," said Ntombikayise Cele.
The hawkers hoped business would pick up during and after the World Cup.
Sutcliffe said the beachfront had not been upgraded for over a century.
"We had many logistical problems. Planning and demolishing buildings were just some of the renovations we had to face," he said.
Sutcliffe said the military building near the Suncoast Casino was being painted to make it look presentable
Movie magnate Anant Singh promised to use the building for a R700m, Hollywood-style, beachfront film studio seven years ago.
However, this has been delayed by a High Court challenge by a rival bidder, Durban businessman Sunny Gayadin.
The Sunday Times recently reported that Singh was given the land by the city for R15m, around 20% of its book value.
This sparked several objections, with Gayadin seeking an order in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg to stop the sale.