Once pleasant and popular beach areas now badly in need of maintenance and repair, writes Lee-Anne Butler
ONCE popular municipal resorts and camping sites have been left to waste away into a shocking state of disrepair, with the Beachview Resort even being closed indefinitely.
When Weekend Post visited resorts like the Willows and Van Stadens, they were found to be thriving and well maintained under private management, while several other accommodation resorts like the Springs are in dire need of maintenance.
The municipality said it had provided funds for maintenance in respect of the Springs.
At Beachview Resort, verges are overgrown and chalets and toilets are in a state of disrepair.
The report exposes alleged corruption and maladministration.
Despite the report being handed over to the municipality in 2012, the council is yet to conclude a plan to deal with it.
With Nelson Mandela Bay being known for its beautiful and pristine beaches, the once-popular municipal beach of Maitlands now stands derelict and unused by the public.
While grass has been cut, there is no other indication of any plans to resurrect the site, which still has several braai spots.
There are two more resorts between Willow Grove and Mangold’s Pool – Willow Glen and Willow Park – which show signs of often severe neglect.
Toilets have not been cleaned and require fixing, while braai areas are crumbling and falling apart.
In Uitenhage, the once popular Springs Resort is also in need of an upgrade, with overgrown grass and weeds covering most of the resort. The swimming pools and rondavels require attention and the hall is also in a state of disrepair.
When Weekend Post visited the site last week, there were even roaming cattle grazing at the resort.
Local tourism expert Peter Myles expressed concern about the state of municipal resorts and said rundown resorts did not project a good image of Port Elizabeth.
Madiba Bay Resorts general manager Herman Nell said it had taken control of seven resorts on Marine Drive between Noordhoek and Schoenmakerskop in July 2003.
“Three of these, Willows, Willow Grove and Three Pools are managed directly by Madiba Bay Resorts. The remaining four (Noordhoek, Willow Park, Willow Glen and Mangold’s Pool) are mainly seasonal resorts and are managed on a concession basis by independent operators.”
He said between 3 000 and 5 000 people visited the different resort areas daily during peak periods.
Caroline De Waal of Buhlebendalo Properties, which manages Van Stadens Resort, said: “Buhlebendalo has reinvested significantly in the resort over the past few years and the response from the public has been positive.
“In the past, we have had approximately 10 000 visitors over the December/ January period, including day visitors.”
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said he could not provide details about the plans for resorts, except for Springs in Uitenhage, as the others formed part of the Kabuso Report, which was a legal issue.
“The municipality believes that the resorts should be maintained and operated effectively and efficiently and will continue to strive to do so. In as much as we would like to give more in response, details that we might give have legal implications.
“The municipality has a maintenance plan that it uses to maintain the resorts. The budget is allocated and the maintenance and repairs of resorts are governed by budget availability,” he said.
The 2014/15 capital budget allocation for the Springs Resort was R1-million, of which 100% had been spent.
“Expenditure was focused mainly on the two swimming pools in the resort. The capital works included relining of the pool surface with glass fibre, paving around the pool area, pool furniture and gazebos and the replacement of faulty pool pumps.”
He said a recent site visit had highlighted that several more areas required attention and R3-million had been allocated for the resort in the current financial year, 2015/16.
“It should be noted, however, that it is going to be an ongoing project and will be implemented in phases, which means that not everything will be covered in the current financial year but the project implementation in terms of the upgrading and refurbishment of infrastructures will be spread out over a number of years.”