It has been highly distressing to read two recent articles about the forth coming demolition of the Sardinia Bay lifesavers’ clubhouse recently (“Out look bleak for Sardinia lifesavers”, August 18 and “Club demolition to go ahead”, August 23).
What is sad is that this surf life saving club is a voluntary organization that built this clubhouse entirely with donations and has provide da vitally needed service for the good of the general community for more than 40 years.
Now, it will be without a clubhouse on the beach. The reason given in the August 18report by the NMBM acting corporate service head Vuyi Zitumane, that “the order to demolish the building was given in line with legislation to protect the coast” is, with respect, balderdash.
The Integrated Coastal Management Act has no such blanket requirement in terms of coastal protection. If it did, then the NMBM had better let us know when it wishes to proceed with demolishing other structures(such as Something Good and the KFC, Barney’s, etc located at Shark Rock Pier) that are located far closer to the sea than the Sardinia Bay life savers’ clubhouse.
Additionally, to add that “the municipality was worried that members of the public would be injured should the building collapse, and then sue the municipality” is equally silly.
A simple warning sign or two would eliminate this danger.
George Branford, from the NMBM coastal management directorate, in The Herald of August 23, declared: “Storm surges and associated weather conditions have exacerbated the problems by now pushing the high water mark to the base of the clubhouse.”
While this is100% correct, the glaring fault with this statement is that the reason why this problem has been exacerbated at Sardinia Bay Beach is because this same department has refused since2006 to remove or redirect the sand from a rogue dune which is moving inland and northwards at 5m per year, engulfing the road, the upper car park and everything in its path.
The sand from this dune has always moved eastwards and along the coast, replenishing the sand on Sardinia Bay beach and keeping the sea from getting anywhere near the structures in the car park.
With the NMBM refusing to take the necessary steps to redirect this sand movement back to its natural
path along the coast, the NMBM itself has exacerbated the problem.
Google Earth provides a fascinating and damning insight into the demise of Sardinia Bay beach. Images show:
January 1 2002 – road fully open. Upper car park and terminus parking fully open and used;
October 26 2006 – not much change. Some sand on the road;
- May 27 2008 – sand starting to cover the road. Upper ablution facilities buried under sand;
- October 8 2009 – sand now blocking the road. Note the rocks now exposed on the main bathing beach at Sardinia Bay, which is evidence that sand replenishment from the west has now been severely impeded;
- November 18 2010 – sand has completely blocked the Sardinia Bay road. Evidence of some sand replenishment of the main beach;
- December 18 2011 – sand romping northwards and engulfing upper car park. One week to Christmas and very few cars in the upper car park. Looks like sand on the east of the main beach has failed to be replenished;
- August 24 2012 –main beach clearly missing lots of sand. Sand progressing further northwards and leaving wider shore between the water’s edge and the start of the ascent of the mobile dune. To compound the problems facing the Sardinia Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, not only are they losing their clubhouse on the beach but they will now have to lease an alternative site which is totally unsuitable for any lifesaving club.
A container? Inland a distant 339m from the closest point to the sea and 420m to the main
Sardinia Bay beach itself, and with no visibility of the sea?
Port Elizabeth wishes to encourage tourism, yet here we are within a few days of seeing the destruction of the vital clubhouse that allows a noble band of volunteer surf lifesavers to function efficiently, keeping bathers at Sardinia Bay safe.
What an absolute waste and what an ominous future water safety will face at this prime beach.- Mike Klee, Walmer, Port Elizabeth