Durban dynamo

2008-05-23 00:00

The saying that dynamite comes in small packages is true of Julie-May Ellingson, the woman behind the Moses Mabhida stadium.

The petite Ellingson heads Durban’s strategic projects unit and is at the forefront of construction at the R2,6 billion stadium.

“For me, working on the stadium is a great privilege. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m glad to be involved in the project,” said the former town planner.

Ellingson said that she thinks of the problems as challenges and quickly finds ways to resolve them.

Her love for her job is evident as she explains why every day is so exciting as she helps get Durban ready for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

She said that even though she works in a male-dominated industry, she has never been intimidated or disrespected by the men in her team.

“I know at first they wondered what this tiny lady could offer them. But we get on great and they respect me.

“The best part of my job is getting to plan things and to see them being implemented. As a town planner, it is common for plans to not materialise. However, the stadium is a dream as I can see it being built,” she said.

Ellingson said that one of the things that excites her about the stadium is the fact that it was designed to be financially feasible and to be used after the World Cup is over.

“It will consist of retail space, cable car and the People’s Park, which will ensure that stadium is open 365 days a year. Our plan was to make the stadium an entertainment node for the people,” she said.

It will become a sports precinct that will promote sporting codes including soccer, rugby and athletics.

With endless meetings and site visits, Ellingson admits that some days she looks forward to relaxing at home with her husband and two children.

“I have a great family who are very supportive of my job. It wouldn’t be easy without their support.”

She said the Moses Mabhida stadium will be a landmark that everyone will be proud of. “Everyone from the bricklayer to the architect has played a part in this project. It has been a great team effort so far and I know that the team will be beaming with pride when the stadium is complete. It will be a legacy for future generations,” she said.

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