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The rickety old walkway at Banana Beach.
Holiday accommodation owners in KwaZulu-Natal are worried the wooden walkway leading down to Banana Beach may pose a danger this holiday season, South Coast Herald reports.
There have been many attempts over the past decade to get the walkway replaced or repaired to an acceptable standard. Even a letter to the mayor, Councillor Cynthia Mqwebu, in June last year was in vain.
Now the walkway is slowly collapsing, and unfortunately it won’t be fixed this season.
Simon April, spokesperson for Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, said the Banana Beach walkway needed to be put on capital budget because of the extensive design and construction work required.
This could only be considered at budget adjustment in January 2017 or during budgeting for 2017/18 financial year, he said.
Niels Richter, manager of Banana Beach Holiday Resort and Conference Centre said that in the last 10 years, there had been an increase in the number of accommodation facilities in the area and Banana Beach had become an increasingly popular holiday destination.
“There are more than 25 000 beds available during December and other peak periods, making this potentially the number of guests who would make use of the walkway,” he said.
Richter said accommodation facilities bore the brunt of the criticism, with many irate guests giving negative feedback to friends and family.
It is bitterly unfair that other main beaches, such as Margate, Uvongo and St Michael’s, are always getting the attention, and the smaller beaches are always on the backfoot.
He said the resort had been a finalist in the Sanlam Top Destination Awards in August, but now guests could not get to the beach.
Three years ago, the Banana Beach community took maintenance matters into its own hands. Frustrated at the deterioration of the small seaside suburb, residents called on the municipality for assistance.
In desperation, they repaired the walkway with shutter board after the derailed train left sections of the wooden structure leading to the beach badly broken.
“That was a temporary patch job, and it was hoped the municipality would come to the party. It’s the same excuse every year – no money, and it will be put it on next year’s budget,” he said.
When the Herald visited Banana Beach last week, not only was the walkway a huge concern, but the path to the beach was overgrown, and there was no signboard on the R102 main road to indicate where the leafy suburb was.