Leaches Bay plan approved

BCM passes rezoning of sites to facilitate R80m tourist development

BCM passes rezoning of sites to facilitate R80m tourist development
BCM passes rezoning of sites to facilitate R80m tourist development

A hotel, camp site and tourist facilities are some of the big plans the Buffalo City Metro Development Agency has for the crime haven Waterworld precinct in Leaches Bay.

The project, which is estimated to cost R80m, is expected to get off the ground in May. It is hoped that, once completed in 2021, the planned development would result in a surge in tourism.

The BCM council has given its blessing to the major plans by approving the rezoning of land portions in the area from public open space to residential zone six, resort zone and open space zone two.

The land will now be used to build a hotel, accommodation facilities, a campsite and recreation and tourist facilities following the council rezoning approval which was done in the last council meeting two weeks ago.

In seeking approval, city manager Andile Sihlahla said the rezoning was needed to accommodate the revamping and upgrading of the existing Waterworld slides and swimming pools with new extensions and additional tourist and accommodation facilities.

“The proposal was circulated to the relevant municipal and external departments for comments as required and no objections were received. Ward councillor Nceba Kilimani fully supported the application,” said Sihlahla.

Kilimani said the development would create employment in the area.

BCMDA executive manager for development facilitation, Dr Eldrid Uithaler, said now that the application has been given the thumbs up, the agency would appoint a contracts manager and a contractor for implementation over the next three months.

“Work on the ground is scheduled to start in May 2019. There is a bigger plan for the area; the city is looking at upgrading and extending a number of water features such as swimming slides.

“In addition to this, other interventions will include the construction of braai areas, extension of swimming pools and also the construction of East London’s own promenade like other metros in the coastal belt,” he said.

In October the Daily Dispatch reported that BCM had set aside R15m to kick-start the upgrade and extension of the Waterworld Fun Park in Leaches Bay in the current financial year.

At the time BCMDA chief executive Bulumko Nelana said: “The funding will be used for both appointment of a construction project manager and actual construction works.” BCMDA spokesperson Oyama Makalima said in December the department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism approved the environmental impact assessment with specific recommendations to be taken into account during implementation.

“Private investors are also being looked into in order to further augment the city’s planned investment to the project,” Makalima said.

Asked how BCMDA would address the scourge of crime in the area, Makalima said the city noted the safety issues regarding the area and highlighted that the design and the operational elements of the project would ensure that all visitors locally and foreign will be safe.

“The agency [will] propose additional [enhancements] to the aesthetics and safety of Leaches Bay and Fullers Bay,” he said.

But Sihlahla warned that: “The applicant [must] be advised that the rezoning will lapse within two years, if not acted upon.”