Hope flickers for Bayworld

New board of trustees to draw up turnaround plan for consideration by Bhisho

There is a glimmer of hope for Nelson Mandela Bay’s iconic Bayworld, with Bhisho set to finally take a decision on its future within the next two months.

The recently appointed board of trustees has been tasked with drawing up a turnaround plan, the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture revealed yesterday.

Bayworld senior curator Dylan Bailey said they had given up any hope of repairing parts of the facility. They were hoping for a complete overhaul rather than patch-work.

The turnaround plan is set to be presented to the department in July.

The news comes as the municipal public accounts committee (Mpac) conducted a site visit to Bayworld yesterday.

Provincial Arts and Culture spokesman Andile Nduna said a decision on whether Bayworld would house dolphins in captivity had yet to be made.
“We are waiting for the board of trustees to give us a plan,” Nduna said.

“Whatever the board of trustees puts as a plan, they will have to inform the department and we will then know that this is what will happen.”

Nduna said that discussions between the municipality and the province had not yet started.

“We want to start discussions with the municipality when we are able to table a plan – discussions are yet to happen,” Nduna said.

Mpac chairwoman Yoliswa Yako, who led the metro site visit, said it was an eye-opener and revealed issues related to staff shortages at Bayworld.

Municipal public accounts committee (Mpac) and other officials conducted a site visit to Bayworld on Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Municipal public accounts committee (Mpac) and other officials conducted a site visit to Bayworld on Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Image: Deneesha Pillay

“We have to get these conversations started as soon as possible. We came here because we wanted to see for ourselves what the state of Bayworld is and not go on hearsay.”

Yako said they would also get the ball rolling on the conversation around housing dolphins at Bayworld.

“There is huge potential here and it’s sad that we are not exposing our children to what this space [could] be.”

Pupils visiting the facility could be seen interacting with penguins, seals and snakes – but the true extent of the damage was hidden in the underground tunnels of the facility.

Among these was the shark tank which was declared structurally unsound and had to be emptied.

The dolphin pool is also in a state of disrepair.

The dolphin pool at Bayworld
The dolphin pool at Bayworld
Image: Deneesha Pillay

Bayworld senior curator Dylan Bailey said they had given up any hope of repairing parts of the facility.

They were hoping for a complete overhaul rather than patch-work.

“I hope the visit gives the municipality better clarity on the [serious] situation that we are in at the moment.

“We don’t have the luxury of time given the state of the building.”

Bailey said staff at Bayworld, concerned about the state of the building, had threatened to refuse to work.

“If that happens we may have to close.”

It was hoped the revamp would also include a new staff organogram.

Drone footage of the state of Bayworld - July 2016.

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