Lifesavers protest over club demolition

STANDING TOGETHER: Members and friends of the Sardinia Bay Surf Lifesaving Club hold a silent protest on Saturday Picture: IVOR MARKMAN
STANDING TOGETHER: Members and friends of the Sardinia Bay Surf Lifesaving Club hold a silent protest on Saturday

About 30 volunteers made a united stand when they formed a human chain around the Sardinia Bay Surf Lifesaving Club at the weekend in a last-ditch attempt to stop it from being demolished today.

Volunteers and a few members of the public interlocked arms in front of the clubhouse on Saturday in an effort to persuade the municipality to stave off the demolition until an alternative shelter can be provided.

Earlier this month, acting corporate services head Vuyo Zitumane said the lifesavers’ clubhouse and the skiboat club were too close to the sea and had been deemed dangerous buildings.

She said a new area for lifesavers would be developed in a proposed car park.

Veteran volunteer lifeguard and club president Grant Breetzke, 43, said the area earmarked by the municipality would make the club the only one in the world where lifesavers, all of whom are volunteers, would not have a view of the beach.

“We need more time to sort out everything. Where are we supposed to house our equipment and lifeguards in the interim between the demolishing and rebuilding of the clubhouse? The club isn’t bothering anyone,” he said.

“We can’t put our things in those rusted containers the municipality gave us because then where do our lifeguards go when conditions are bad?

“We just need more time, but the municipality is refusing to help or [reach a] compromise with us.”

The building was condemned as it now falls within the high water mark, as a result of changing weather patterns and storm surges.

Club members said they were informed last week the municipality must spend the R750 000 earmarked for the demolition immediately, or it would lose it.

Club chairman Andrew Marriott, 34, said: “These lifesavers are the best in the business, because they are passionate about lifesaving.”

Club secretary Sue Hoffman, 54, said: “If we are moved behind the dunes our response time will also be affected. We urge the municipality to give us more time.”

One thought on “Lifesavers protest over club demolition

  • August 31, 2016 at 12:38 am

    This council decision is a very poor one. Athol Trollip, you need to step in here and show some leadership and common sense and stop this demolition until a suitable compromise is reached or a new clubhouse is built, and dont build it behind the dunes, that is just crazy. If council, rebuild the clubhouse in a location that is too far from the beach and without direct line of sight and this results in a drowning (heaven forbid) then, they may be in line for a legal battle. There are many examples of building that are not lived in that are subject to flooding. On the Gold Coast at Burleigh Heads in Australia, the building complex on the waterfront floods every few years. Council is not rushing in to demolish these building as nobody lives in them, they are businesses and the occurrence of flooding is very rare. If the buildings foundations become eroded through tidal surge, then by all means take steps at that point, but until then, just work out a better solution for all involved. That building at Sards has been there for a very long time and I am sure it will survive a lot longer. These self-sacrificing lifeguards are just trying to help the community the best way they possible can, dont make it more difficult for them.


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