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A whole new skyline

By ARTHI SANPATH

Durban - Two huge projects, on opposite sides of Durban’s Golden Mile beachfront, reflect the optimism there is for development in the city in 2013.

An artist's rendering of the Point waterfront development. The rendering shows a canal lock linking the canal with the ocean.Reel action: Development of the Natal Command site on North Beach is ready to go ahead. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVUDigging deep: The old Durban International Airport site could look like this after its transformation into a dig-out port.A cruise liner enters Durban Harbour.

“Next year is a year of promise for eThekwini,” said council speaker Logie Naidoo.

Major projects are the back-of-port logistics hub, the development at the Point Waterfront, which includes a new cruise terminal and the Vetch’s Beach area, as well as finalising plans for the Natal Command site.

Court action has stymied development at the old Natal Command site and the Point Waterfront for years, and has only recently been resolved.

“Now that we’ve broken the deadlock on the Point Waterfront, we look forward to development in this area.” Naidoo said construction was likely to begin next year.

“We will also see construction of the houses at Cornubia speeded up, and look forward to the completion of the first phase.”

The industrial park and shopping centre – part of the Cornubia development – will also begin next year.

Naidoo said the mayor and city manager have set up a planning commission for eThekwini that will look at vacant land and plan for long-term development.

“The developments mean that we will have many mayoral imbizos – in which the mayor meets with residents – and community engagements, so that people will have a clear understanding of what our intentions are.”

Projects the city will focus on next year include:

Back of Port

Transnet’s new R75 billion dig-out port, to be built at the old Durban International Airport site, is set to change the face of south Durban.

The first phase of the port needs to be completed by 2020, as capacity at the current Durban port would run out by 2019.

Ethekwini aims to rezone Clairwood from residential to industrial to create a back-of-port logistics hub that will complement the dig-out port.

A series of public engagements has been held this past year, and will continue intensively next year to gauge the views of affected community members who reside in and around Clairwood.

Residents fear that they will be forcibly removed, and have held mass protests this year, while the city aims to pacify their fears and reassure them that this will not happen.

The city is collating about a thousand submissions that were received in November for the back-of-port rezoning plans.

Natal Command site

This prime piece of land on the Durban beachfront had been under legal dispute for almost a decade, after the controversial R15m sale by the city to movie mogul Anant Singh, who said he would build a film studio on the site.

The land is now valued at about R400m.

Pietermaritzburg businessman Sunny Gayadin had challenged the sale of the land, and the court dispute was only resolved at the end of last month.

The proposal for the project, together with concept drawings for the film studio complex, was presented to the city nine years ago.

Singh and his management said they would have to revisit their plans for the site, as several years have lapsed since their initial concept.

There was a possibility for hotels on the site, and an experience, like Universal Walk in Universal Studios or Disney Downtown at Disney Studios.

The film company and municipality will meet in the coming months to finalise plans for the site.

Point Waterfront Development and Vetch’s Beach

Earlier this month, the Durban Point Development Company (DPDC) – a 50/50 venture between Malaysian-based Rocpoint group and the eThekwini Municipality, the Save Vetch’s Association (SVA) and the Durban Paddleski Club – said in a statement the parties had “ceased hostilities” and concluded a compromise settlement agreement on the use and development plans for Vetch’s Beach as part of the multibillion-rand Point Waterfront Development.

SVA and the Paddleski Club were opposed to the development of Vetch’s Beach, claiming it would close off the beach to the public, destroy the popular diving reef and leave many watersport enthusiasts without a venue.

The compromise solution has been described as saving at least 200m of beach. But it allows the DPDC to go ahead with plans to build a super-basement – which will form the first phase of the project – and allows for a new “iconic” hotel and waterfront development at the mouth of Durban Harbour.

Meetings on the development will be held with the affected parties in the coming year.

A world-class cruise ship terminal, as part of the Durban Point Waterfront development, is also on the cards. Transnet National Ports Authority will call for proposals in February.

The terminal would improve boarding for thousands of cruise tourism passengers, who now use makeshift facilities. It would be located just inside the harbour and adjacent to the Point Waterfront, and form part of the development of the area. - Independent on Saturday

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