Durban - A LITTLE spit and polish here and there is all that remains to be done before the promenade extension on the Durban beachfront is opened for public use next month.
On Wednesday, eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, members of the city’s executive committee (Exco), city manager Sipho Nzuza, uShaka Marine World chief executive Stella Khumalo and other officials went on a walkabout of the extension.
The promenade now stretches from the harbour mouth up to Blue Lagoon.
Kaunda said the development would boost the economy and tourism for the city. “We are envisaging about R35 billion investment around the area here (beachfront). We have invested about R380 million to expand the promenade.”
He said the promenade formed a link with uShaka Marine World because they wanted to boost the city’s assets. He said the promenade was built in a way that it could withstand all types of weather and the effects of climate change.
Beachfront visitors would now be able to walk, cycle, skate or run from the harbour mouth to Blue Lagoon.
Some zones of the promenade have been completed, as have the amphitheatre and pedestrian ramps. The final touches are being put to the lifeguard tower.
The dune vegetation has been planted but grass is yet to be planted.
The extension is wheelchair friendly, has a first-aid room, showers, change rooms and undercover parking.
The top and bottom portions have seating, plant beds, lighting and views of the beachfront. All these are nestled between the harbour mouth and uShaka Marine World.
“We have also opened up opportunities out of this R380m investment on infrastructure that we have put here. We have also allocated about R120m to emerging companies so that they also partake in the economy of the city,” said Kaunda.
He said two skyscrapers were on the cards - a 39-storey hotel and 29-storey residential unit - and a mall, with construction of the three beginning by the second quarter of 2020.
The city also wanted the pulse of the beachfront to beat well into the night.
Kaunda said many sustainable jobs would be created with the continuous upgrading of the beachfront.
Earlier, he and deputy mayor Belinda Scott walked around the city centre, where they noted a few problems.
They visited public facilities, including taxi ranks and public toilets, and found that some areas, like stormwater drainage systems and roads, needed attention.
“We did find some challenges and we have drawn up plans to intervene and fix these,” Kaunda said.
He said they were unhappy that there were about 5000 tables designated for informal traders in the CBD, but there were more than 10000 informal traders, many of whom were not trading legally.
Kaunda said the city would relocate some of the traders because they were blocking the city’s passages, which were no longer accessible to shoppers.
The city wanted to reduce the number of vehicles in the CBD with the launch of the GO!Durban system, to transport commuters, and allocate a park-and-ride system.