By Annisa Essack
The eThekweni beachfront promenade extension, part of the R300 million project linked to the Durban Point Waterfront mega development, is making steady progress and indications are that it will be completed in time for the 2019 festive seasons.
According to Project Manager, Afrika Mdima 2018 ended on a positive note, with seven of the 10 levels two (suspended floor slabs) concrete zones being completed. During the first quarter of 2019, the casting of the remaining three zones had been completed. The remaining work on the amphitheatre and pedestrian ramps and bridges currently in process, meaning the project is fast nearing completion. Fire protection, landscaping and the installation of bulk services in the built-up channels will see the promenade receiving a polished finish.
Public amenities as part of the new promenade include change rooms, as well as ablution and staff facilities. A lifeguard facility is planned for the centre of the Point Waterfront Promenade, while new restaurant facilities will also be made available as part of the leisure mix.
Durban Tourism CEO and acting eThekwini Deputy City Manager, Philip Sithole, says the Point Waterfront Promenade Extension will be a key asset to eThekweni’s tourism sector. It is one of 25 catalytic projects being implemented and is a powerful demonstration of the commitment eThekwini has to transform the global and investor landscape of the city.
This major project is set to take Durban’s Golden Mile to a whole new level, with the promenade extending all the way from the Umgeni River mouth and Blue Lagoon area in the south, past Suncoast Casino and the planned eThekwini Film City, to Ushaka and the harbour entrance at North Pier. The new Point Waterfront Promenade section will unlock development in the Point precinct and further enhances the current offering along the beachfront.
Malaysian development and investment group, UEM Sunrise, is behind the new Point Waterfront plan, together with the eThekwini Municipality. The initial project, which has been dogged by delays and court action since it was launched in the early 2000s as an urban renewal initiative, has seen an investment of about R4 billion in mixed-used projects, including apartments and hotels.
A total investment of R30–R35 billion was expected to pour into the Point Waterfront development over a number of development phases, generating increased annual rates for the city of R200 million. An estimated 6 750 permanent jobs where also set to be created. Sithole says the Point Waterfront would also be integrated with the planned new Durban Cruise Terminal, just inside the harbour.
Sithole said he was happy that a settlement had finally been reached recently between the developer and watersports clubs, which has opened the way for the new Point Waterfront Promenade and larger precinct development to take place.
Mike Jackson, Operations Director of Tsogo Sun Hotels KZN, said the city’s further investment in the Durban beachfront was a great move and would boost tourism.