Millions needed to restore resort

Once-desirable holiday destination is in a shocking state of disrepair

Once a bustling, flagship resort that attracted large-scale events and visitors from across the country, Port Elizabeth’s deserted Beachview Resort now lies in rack and ruin, with up to R10m required to restore the seaside icon to its former glory.
For the first time since the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality regained control of the resort in January, municipal officials revealed this week that the full restoration of the sprawling facility would carry a hefty price tag of between R5m and R10m.
This follows a recent Weekend Post inspection of the resort which is situated between Seaview and Maitlands in the western reaches of the city.
The facility – which houses more than 20 chalets, scores of caravan and camping sites with a substantial number of ablution blocks, along with a large office and recreational centre – is in a shocking state of disrepair with clear evidence of wanton vandalism, gross theft and scavenging of infrastructure and materials such as copper pipes and other items.
Every chalet and ablution block at the facility, which, although officially closed and gated, is easily accessible via the shoreline and through holes in the perimeter fence, is damaged and in most cases significantly so.
Smashed windows, toilets, baths and damaged walls and roofs are evident everywhere, along with faeces-covered floors and gang-related graffiti on walls. Scores of fire extinguisher shells – their metal working parts removed – are strewn across the resort.
The guard house at the entrance to the facility – long abandoned by security guards based there because of snakes – is perilously balanced on a section of road and propped up by crumbling bricks.
Municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron said on Friday the administration was now in charge of the resort after the agreement between the former managers of the facility, Isimilo Investments which had leased the facility, and the administration, was cancelled on January 30 2018.
“We are in charge of our resorts and deployed staff from safety and security to safeguard our facilities against vandalism and unauthorised entry. We are aware of the state of the property and it is of course a major concern for us. This facility has the potential to be an excellent recreational facility. It is part of our long-term vision to restore the Beachview Resort.”
Baron said the municipality planned to advertise an expression of interest for the development and management of the facility.
“However, adequate budgetary provision needs to be made available to firstly repair the infrastructure that is posing a serious risk to the health and safety of visitors and employees alike.
“The decay and damage dates back from before the municipality started the eviction process [Isimilo Investments] and is due to many years of neglect and lack of infrastructure upgrade. Again, the municipality is aware of the extent of the damage to the property and we estimate that it will cost between R5m and R10m [to repair],” he explained.
Responding to questions as to how the state of disrepair had occurred, Baron said: “Unfortunately it is due to years of neglect by the lessees who were leasing the resort from the municipality. The municipality took over the resort in 2015.
“There are plans to restore the resort and budgetary provision needs to be identified to firstly take care of the bulk infrastructure and fencing before the advertisement of the expression of interest can go out.
“The specifications will include a provision that the successful tenderer must make the facility a viable concern that generates some profit,” he said.
“Upon a site inspection [before the resort was closed in 2015] it was discovered the resort did not comply with health and safety regulations, the infrastructure was largely compromised and the continuation of the operation of the resort could have resulted in litigation against the municipality,” he said.
Baron said Isimilo Investments had contested the cancellation process and had effectively stopped the administration, as the owner of the facility, to commence with infrastructure upgrades.
“The company halted their legal contest. We have now started a process of developing a resorts development and management policy for the city. The draft policy was subjected to the normal public participation process.“
Baron was on Friday unable to provide any timeframe around when work would start on the facility or when it would again open to the public.
Attempts to track down any representatives of Isimilo Investments were unsuccessful.

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