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Plans afoot for Point Waterfront Ferris Wheel

A Ferris Wheel at an amusement park. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

A Ferris Wheel at an amusement park. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Published Oct 2, 2020

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THANDEKA MGQIBI

Durban - THERE could be a new attraction at the upgraded Point Waterfront - a Ferris “Durban Eye” Wheel.

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The office of the Economic Development and Planning Cluster, together with the Real Estate Department, identified the Point precinct as a suitable location.

The objective of the project is to facilitate a more than R450 million investment into the Point Waterfront.

It is hoped this will enhance the offerings in the area and complement the recently opened promenade.

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This is according to a report presented at the executive committee meeting last Tuesday and chaired by eThekwini Municipality deputy mayor Belinda Scott, on behalf of the mayor.

The report states this was a recommendation backed by exco.

“The Executive Committee supported the request for authority in terms of section 110 (2) of the Municipal Finance Management Act for the leasing of portion of land from Transnet SOC,” said the committee report.

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It further stated that the purpose of entering into a sublease agreement with a private sector operator was for developing and operating a Ferris wheel with the associated offerings.

Ferris wheels are often found in amusement parks or carnivals, with their height and colourful lights becoming attractions. It allows riders to enjoy panoramic views.

Some of the popular Ferris wheels include the London Eye in England; the Wonder Wheel in New York; Tianjin Eye in China; The Big O in Tokyo, Japan; and the High Roller in Las Vegas. High Roller is the tallest Ferris wheel, at 167.6m.

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Praneetha Aniruth of Carver Media, the owners of I Love Durban, an online community that promotes tourism, said the Durban Eye was a great tourism initiative.

“It will become a major tourist attraction for Durban and KwaZulu-Natal. We have seen the success of giant Ferris wheels in other major cities like Singapore, London and Cape Town and developing one in Durban will boost both international and local tourism.”

Sadha Naidoo, a businessman, an investor and the former chairman of Tourism KZN, said: “The introduction of the Durban Eye would certainly add tremendous value to the tourism offerings in the city and province.

“The introduction of such an attraction would not only provide an iconic attraction but begin to position us globally for our international markets.”

Phillip Sithole, the deputy city manager for economic development and planning, said the economic council would meet today and that the Durban Eye project was on the agenda.

Msawakhe Mayisela, municipal spokesperson, said the city’s leadership was positive eThekwini would be able to chart the way forward for economic recovery and forge ahead with plans to stabilise the city.

He said that would be done by creating an investor climate to keep large investors in the city.

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