Lifesavers undecided on next move
Despite months of protests and letters of complaint, the demolition of the Sardinia Bay Lifesaving Club clubhouse – which was established more than 40 years ago – has started.
This follows a decision by authorities to tear it down in line with legislation to protect the coast.
The question now is whether its members will continue the fight to preserve the club, or dissolve it.
Club secretary Sue Hoffmann said it was a sad day for them when the levelling work began on Friday.
“We have been members of the club for the past 14 years. The municipality just ignored us. They are giving us the middle finger,” she said.
Hoffmann said the windows, ski-racks and wooden decking were dumped in the parking lot, despite their request to keep it. “Someone just took it,” she said. “We haven’t received any compensation. The least they [municipality] could have done is give us a call.”
One of the club’s founding members, Grant Breetzke, said it was a terrible day for him.
“I actually can’t believe they went ahead with it – 44 years of lifesaving history has just gone out the window,” he said.
“Sardinia Bay’s lifesavers have always been of the highest degree. We didn’t only protect beach-goers, but also the bay and all those who used it. We even helped horse riders.
“We must now decide whether to dissolve the club or continue to fight.
“The worst for me was the municipality’s attitude.”
The club suspended their duties at the beach in November following the decision to demolish their clubhouse.
At the time, the municipality said it received an order to demolish the structure in line with legislation to protect the coast.
The derelict ski-boat club – housed in a separate structure – had been demolished in August.
The new clubhouse, proposed by an environmental impact assessment for the area, is located in a place that would not allow a view of the beach.
The clubhouse was built in 1976 with funds from the municipality and sponsorship, on land to which the municipality had agreed.
Breetzke said there was no proof that Sardinia was a dangerous beach.
He said the first drowning since 1976 was recorded last month while municipal lifeguards were on duty.
“I would love to see the report about that drowning. It is true that rescue teams take some time to get to Sardinia Bay because they have to get over the dune.
“At least when we had a clubhouse we could stabilise patients until help arrived,” he said.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said he was still awaiting comment from the relevant departments.