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The famous Ballito promenade is one of the greatest tourist draws to the Dolphin Coast and it is facing an uncertain future.
The grand old lady is starting to look a little worse for wear, raising concerns over when and how it will be replaced.
Inus van Schalkwyk of Cyberview Letting told the Courier they were very concerned about the state of the promenade and plans for its future.
“Today, 11 years after the promenade was repaired (after the 2007 storm damage) it is deteriorating at a fast pace and has got, at the most, two more years before it needs re-building,” he estimated.
“The biggest problem is the enormous cost involved to have it repaired in such a way that it can handle the thousands of walkers and runners who use it daily.”
The UIP’s (Urban Improvement Precinct) Thierry Leclezio confirmed that replacing the promenade would cost tens of millions, a steep price in difficult economic times.
However Van Schalkwyk said he believes it is worth the cost after he installed people-counters along the promenade to gauge how many people use it daily.
“If we annually receive over 300 000 visitors to our promenade and multiply that over the next 20 years, it would mean that 6 000 000 people will use the promenade and that most definitely justifies the cost which also
increases our capacity for tourism and usage of the facility.
“The little holiday town we live in needs to be looked after and so do the facilities that encourage tourism.
“If the promenade is not looked after and maintained, how do we keep the tourists coming back?”
Speaking for the UIP, Leclezio said they had an an integrated service plan with KwaDukuza municipality for maintenance of the promenade, with both parties having set responsibilities.
The UIP has three daily staff members cleaning and greening, a roving team that cuts the lawns as required and a roving staff member who repairs posts and rails, boardwalk planks and paving.
They also deploy four security staff by day and seven by night.
Leclezio advised the Courier to get more in depth answers on plans for the promenade from KDM.
Municipal spokesperson Sipho Mkhize said the municipality had plans in place to beautify the coastal belt but would not specify whether replacing the promenade was within those plans.
“It is not lip service that we have plans in place to deal with the issues at the beaches and I would shy away away from making focus on only one beach out of a host of beaches.”
KDM is currently undertaking maintenance and upkeep projects at Thompson’s Bay, Willard Beach, Salt Rock Beach, Zinkwazi and Tinley Manor Beach.