Clubhouse relocation will block volunteers’ view of sea
The Sardinia Bay Lifesaving Club is about to become the only club in the world where lifesavers cannot see the beach, veteran volunteer lifeguard Grant Breetzke says as he describes the imminent demolition and relocation of the club.
After more than 40 years of service, the Sardinia Bay Lifesaving Club lifesavers will be left without shelter from the end of this month as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality prepares to demolish their clubhouse, saying it is “highly hazardous”.
Chairman Andrew Marriott confirmed yesterday that the club had received written notice from the municipality that the clubhouse would be demolished on August 29.
He said it would cost about R1-million to rebuild it, and demolishing the clubhouse would leave lifesavers, all of whom were volunteers, without any shelter.
Members had since started salvaging everything they could from the clubhouse. Acting corporate services head Vuyo Zitumane explained that the order to demolish the building was given in line with legislation to protect the coast.
Both the lifesavers’ clubhouse and the ski boat club are too close to the sea and have been deemed dangerous buildings.
Zitumane said the municipality was worried that members of the public would be injured should the building collapse, and then sue the municipality.
She said a new area for lifesavers would be developed in a proposed car park. Breetzke pointed out that the area earmarked by the municipality would not give lifesavers a view of the beach.
The Sardinia Bay Lifesavers Club was built in 1976 with funds from the municipality and sponsorship, on land to which the municipality had agreed.
Last year, because the derelict ski boat club next to it was in a terrible state, an order was given to demolish both buildings.
“We have a problem with vandalism but our building was never unsafe,” Breetzke said. He said the only way the newly proposed clubhouse would work was if the municipality provided watch towers and two-way radios.
Zitumane said the municipality had asked for quotations to build two towers at the beach even though it was not budgeted for.
She said the municipality had provided the club with a container to store materials salvaged from the clubhouse. Breetzke, who joined the club at its inception in 1976, said there was no proof that Sardinia Bay was a dangerous beach.
“Since we started patrolling the beach in 1976 we have not lost a single swimmer,” he said. “We are there, working as volunteers to patrol and protect the beach.
“The municipality is not helping us at all. If we go along with their plans we will be stuck in the car park.”