Coast KZN

05 Jul 2017

Umdloti promenade shambles hurts businesses

Elana Geist (North Coast Courier) Picture: The popular Umdloti promenade is a massive construction site as contractors try to save what is left and rebuild was has been lost.


The July holidays are here, the weather is perfect, but the beach cannot be used which also means less customers for the restaurants.

The Umdloti promenade is a construction site after part of it collapsed following heavy rains and a big swell in May, damaging not only the road but also business owner’s pockets.

Leonard Staples, owner of the promenade restaurant Sandbar said the July holidays are here, the weather is perfect, but the beach cannot be used which also means less customers for the restaurants.

“Besides the absolute eyesore, this has also become a pedestrian nightmare and a congestion area as one lane is closed and the guys running the stop/go are not keeping the traffic flowing,” said Staples, who feels that this mess could be avoided if handled properly.

“About three months ago, a hole developed and if it had been fixed immediately, we could have avoided this whole construction. “No maintenance was done, instead barriers were placed around the hole and when the next big swell came through, it ripped the hole open.

“Even with the major collapse, we had to put up a fight to get an emergency fix done. We are a high ratepaying area and between myself and Tasca Pizza next door, we employ about 40 people who would have been out of a job if the promenade had been left to disintegrate any further.”

Umdloti UIP’s Terry Rens said the promenade breakup is a perpetual problem because it is too close to the sea.

“This emergency fix will probably be followed by a long term plan involving a “sea wall” made of concrete that has been done at Sea Point. This will of course have a huge environmental impact though and will take time to be approved,” said Rens.

She said the community have asked to get unskilled labour to remove the rubble from the tidal pool during low tide to try make swimming in the tidal pool safe again.

“This is a very dangerous area at the moment and the tidal pool has been closed and declared a no-go bathing area. A guarded bathing area has been opened in front of Perna Perna in the meantime.” Councillor Geoff Pullan, who has been fighting for blue flag status for Umdloti Beach, said the promenade collapse is a major setback.

“We were really hoping to get the blue flag for Umdloti, but we will have to now wait for the construction to be completed to try again. Also, the much-needed lifeguard building has been set back to 2019, which was quite a blow for the popular beach.”

Ethekwini municipality’s communications head, Tozi Mthethwa said the work being done is tricky, but should be completed by the December holidays.

“Contractors are currently securing the area and building a cofferdam comprising of geocontainer sandbags to enable work to be undertaken without tidal and wave influence.

“Thereafter, lateral support to the adjacent roadway needs to be installed prior to the partial demolition and reconstruction of the wall.

“To date, a contractor has been appointed to undertake the repair work and the work should be completed by end of November 2017.”

The collapsed promenade is a no go area until at least November.