Coast KZN

16 Nov 2017

Dolphin Coast beaches to get makeover

Allan Troskie (North Coast Courier) Picture: One of La Mercy's beaches - north of the lagoon - that resembles a post apocalyptic wasteland.

It is time to take stock of how the beaches along the North Coast are looking and what maintenance the municipality is planning to keep them beautiful.

With the festive season fast approaching the Dolphin Coast is once again bracing itself for the influx of holidaymakers, and our golden beaches are one of the key attractions that keep them coming back for more.

With this in mind, it is time to take stock of how the beaches along the North Coast are looking and what maintenance the municipality is planning to keep them beautiful.

According to KDM media liaison Sipho Mkhize, the municipality is taking a pro-active approach to sprucing up the beaches.

“During the past months we experienced severe storms that damaged municipal infrastructure, particularly along the beach,” Mkhize said.

“The damage was severe and to date we are still in the process of fixing some of these facilities. Other facilities are also due for general maintenance and still others will be under construction during the holidays and beyond.”

Blythedale Beach is looking very good, though it remains to be seen how good it will look after the influx of beachgoers over new year.

 Mkhize said the municipality would tackle construction in the Chakas Cove ablutions this week, a positive development as – according to Dolphin Coast Conservancy chairperson Di Jones – the ablutions have been standing in a miserable condition and have been unusable for five years. Mkhize said the work would be complete by mid-December.

Regarding Thompson’s Bay, he said that it had been particularly hard hit by the storms.

“The storm water culvert that is a bridge for beachgoers has not been fixed, but we have provided a wooden bridge in order to allow for foot traffic. The reconstruction of the culvert will be done in the 2018/2019 financial year.”

Disappointing news for many who frequent the beach and have been complaining for months, however he said the beach facility is “still functional.”

“The eroded embankments are going to be done before the financial year-end,” Mkhize said of the unstable earth wall above the tidal pool.

He further stated that KDM was in the process of constructing a disposal system for the ablutions at Zinkwazi Beach and would be decommissioning and demolishing the existing sewage storage and pumping facility.

Salmon Bay in Ballito is a favourite with locals looking to escape the holiday crowds.

“As an interim measure, we are going to be provinding portable toilets for the areas that need additional facilities during the holiday.”

Work at Zinkwazi is also slated to be complete by the end of the financial year (June 30, 2018).

“The Municipality is also currently finalising a Maintenance Management Plan application for the department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in order to ensure that all the basic maintenance or rehabilitation activities are carried out without a need to go to the Environmental Department for approval so that we are able to deal with urgent activities.”

On a tour of the beaches from Tugela Mouth all the way down to Umdloti, the Courier noticed that the biggest problem along the Dolphin Coast is litter.

Popular beaches such as Umdloti Main Beach, Thompson’s Bay and Zinkwazi are kept relatively clean by locals and municipal workers, however the lesser visited beaches are not a pretty sight.

At every beach visited the infamous plastic nurdles were mixed in with the sand, proving the need for ongoing engagement and participation from all parties in cleaning up this environmental catastrophe.

However, the sheer amount of plastic bags, bottles and the like is depressing in what it reflects of local attitudes. La Mercy’s beaches in particular are reminiscent of a dumping ground, though the lagoon is kept relatively clean.

All visitors to our beautiful beaches are urged to take a bag along when visiting the beach and do your part by picking up any and all trash.

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