Clubs must honour the promises they made
Johnny Vassilaros (Save Vetch’s Association)
Having attended a presentation by the Point Yacht Club (PYC) on Thursday evening regarding the recent dispute that is brewing between the water sport clubs on Vetch’s Beach, has left me sad, dismayed and angry.
Sad to see these clubs squabbling over who is going to run the show after the amalgamation, dismayed at the level of ignorance that still exists amongst so many club members, and angry that the Durban Undersea (DUC) and Durban Ski Boat clubs (DSBC) are still trying to exclude the Durban Paddle Ski Club from being an equal party within the “combined” Point Watersports Club.
The Save Vetch’s Association was formed years ago for one purpose only – to save Vetch’s Beach and that is exactly what it did. It was funded most generously by the Durban Paddle Ski Club, while the other three clubs, not only contributed nothing, but continually criticized their stance and tried desperately to convince them to drop their legal challenge to the construction of a small craft harbour, which would have seen the entire Vetch’s Beach buried in concrete. While their members were sun tanning on the beach and eating and drinking in their pubs and restaurants, the members of the Durban Paddle Ski Club were fighting for their lives and spending millions to save the very beach that these other clubs are still able to enjoy. Their struggle resulted in an agreement with the developers, which eventually saw the scrapping of the small craft harbour leaving the beach and reef intact. This is an undisputed fact.
The reason the Paddle Ski Club is not being treated equally today is not hard to find. It has obviously put egg on the faces of its richer and more powerful neighbours, by saving the beach while the others sided with the developers and did nothing. Apart for a few individuals, no member of these clubs has had the decency to thank the Save Vetch’s Association or the paddle ski club for their efforts and should all hang their heads in shame. Fortunately, the new Commodore of the Point Yacht Club, Craig Millar, has seen the light and PYC is now supporting the paddle ski club in this regard.
Agreements were signed by all the clubs with the developers in 2008 and 2012, clearly setting out the structure of the new proposed amalgamated body, where all four clubs would retain their identities, have separate constitutions but exist under the “umbrella body” of Point Watersports. But now DUC and DSBC have deviated hugely from those terms they signed, without the knowledge and mandate from their members. They are trying to bulldoze through a business-type structure with one huge club and elected themselves as directors who are to be remunerated and control everybody. This is of course obscene and unacceptable to PYC and the paddle ski club, who have no desire of controlling anybody other than their own clubs. The result of this bickering is going to be further litigation, which may threaten this whole development once more.
At the end of the day whatever model the DUC and DSBC members support will be irrelevant as this will only be decided by a court of law. The developers have the authority to intervene and insist that the clubs keep their word and honour the signed agreements, thus diffusing the situation, but so far they have chosen not to become involved. In my opinion, that is going to be a costly mistake.
It is indeed sad to see these clubs bickering over such issues, instead of appreciating the beach that we saved for them and get on with one another as they have done for decades. I urge the members of DUC and DSBC to ask their chairmen to put the interest of their sports over and above their own dented egos and honour their agreements so this controversial and drawn-out development can proceed without any further unnecessary delays.
From: Water Rat [mailto:
Sent: 17/06/2016 12:38 PM
Subject: Clubs at Vetch's Beach
Recent developments have brought to the surface a number of important issues regarding the formation and structure of the ‘Point Watersports Club’. I therefore strongly recommend that those of you, who are members of one of the clubs situated at Vetch’s, take some time to familiarize yourself with the issues that the clubs are currently dealing with regarding the new development and attend your club's AGM in order to hear what your club representatives have to report.
The elected Committees members work hard for the clubs' interests so they do deserve your attention. If you are unhappy with any of their decisions or actions, the AGM will be your chance to pose any questions that you may have in an open forum and vote on any issues that may need be settled by ballot in terms of your Club's Constitution.
You may wonder why someone who has been closely involved with the Save Vetch’s Association takes the liberty of penning this. The reason is this: one of the key issues that led to the formation of the SVA was poor communication. The breakdown in the flow of transparent information between the interested parties and the developer led to suspicion and distrust. Our issues were settled in 2012 and we have an agreement, the terms of which are bound by law. Whilst the SVA is monitoring developments we will not interfere unless the terms of our agreement are compromised.
Lets hope all goes smoothly and we can look forward to enjoying our beach in peace.
Rezoning of the Point waterfront Open day 18th July
As seen recently in the press the plans for the Point Development have undergone some changes with the removal of the small craft harbour from the initial plans. This has necessitated a re-zoning process to accommodate the new proposed plans.
Below is the notification by the Council to amend the zoning of the Point waterfront. Interested members are encouraged to attend an open day where members of the public may view the proposals for the development and ask questions on Saturday, 18 July 2015 from 09h00 to 12h00 at the DPDC Offices, 15 Timeball Boulevard, Point Waterfront, and Durban 4001.
Council took a decision on 21 May 2015 in terms of Clause 9(1) and Clause 22(1) of the Planning and Development Act No 6 of 2008, to initiate an amendment to the Durban Scheme, Special Zone 91: Point Waterfront along with the proposed subdivision of a portion of this area to form the Promenade and the subsequent rezoning of this area to the Beach Zone.
The proposal is a combined application consisting of three components mentioned above (i.e.: Amendment to the scheme, Subdivision and rezoning). The proposal is currently in the public participation phase and the detailed reports and plans are available for viewing at the Municipal offices (Land Use Management Scheme branch, Ground Floor, City Engineers Building, 166 K.E Masinga Road) as well as the Durban Point Development Company (DPDC) offices which is located at 15 Timeball Boulevard, Point Waterfront, and Durban. Public comments are welcome. The closing date for public comments is the 12 August 2015.
SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSAL
The proposal consists of three main components, which are summarised below.
A copy of the application and its accompanying documents will be open for inspection by interested members of the public between the hours of 08h00 and 12h30 Mondays to Fridays (excluding Public Holidays) at the offices of the Land Use Management Branch, Ground Floor, 166 KE Masinga (Old Ford) Road, Durban and the offices of the Durban Point Development Company located at 15 Timeball Boulevard, Point Waterfront Durban 4001.
You are further invited to attend an open day where members of the public may view the proposals for the development and ask questions on Saturday, 18 July 2015 from 09h00 to 12h00 at the DPDC Offices, 15 Timeball Boulevard, Point Waterfront, and Durban 4001.
- 23 Jul 2013
- The Mercury
- Tania Broughton
ANOTHER row is simmering over Durban’s Point Waterfront upgrade with concerns that in its revised plan, the development company has broken a deal it had with the watersports clubs by including a swimming beach and public promenade in front of their site.
The deal was brokered last year between the Save the Vetch’s Association, the Durban Paddle Ski Club and the Durban Point Development Company, bringing an end to what had already been lengthy litigation stalling any development in the area.
Now in submissions on the recently released revised plan, Michael Jackson, the lawyer acting for the association and the club, has taken issue with the siting of a promenade and jetties below the erosion line, which will hinder access to the beach by vehicles with boats and trailers.
He says while he hopes the concerns are “unfounded” and based on “misunderstandings”, he suggests that unless they are resolved, the deal could be off.
Cuane Hall, the chairman of the Durban Undersea Club, has echoed similar concerns. He told The Mercury: “The promenade cannot happen and will not happen. We have voiced our concerns and we will keep voicing them until it goes away.”
Jackson, in his written submission in the environmental approval process for the revised plan, says his clients fully support a development consistent with the settlement agreement, which must be complied with.
“The litigation which preceded it was motivated by the strongly held belief that the Vetch’s Beach is iconic to Durban and the way of life enjoyed by its citizens.
“The agreement accommodated both development and the beachcentred lifestyle. It is of fundamental importance this is not destroyed but is rather captured and celebrated,” he says.
In terms of the agreement the entire beach zone was to be a launch zone.
“Placing a public walkway directly across it from north to south would be both dangerous (to pedestrians) and in our clients’ view nonsensical,” he says.
Further, by placing the promenade so close to the sea it exposed it to severe storms and damage, with debris strewn on the beach and reef which would in turn cause damage to craft.
He said it appeared the operational launch zone was only 153m long, whereas it was the intention of the settlement agreement that the entire beach zone of about 300m could be used for launching.
The Durban Undersea Club is still formulating its written response. But Hall said the issue of the swimming beach and the promenade “keeps popping up” and he believed it was an attempt by the Point precinct developers to appease the city which wanted a promenade along the entire beachfront.
“We are not happy with it and we have raised it in our negotiations. We are not sure what is intended by a promenade, whether it is just a walkway as exists now. We are also not happy with the appearance of a a swimming beach when it is an operational beach,” he said.
Coastwatch KZN, while finding some improvements in the new plan, has raised similar concerns about the siting of the promenade.
And the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance predicts that the promenade will be “consumed by the relentless forces of the sea”.
It has also expressed concern about the impact of a slipway allowing direct access to the canal which would place at risk its marine ecological system.
“Neighbouring Sea World has been stocking the canal with various marine species including kingfish, spotted grunter, lionfish, mullet and parrotfish. Successful breeding is occurring and it has become a tourist attraction in its own right,” the alliance said.
The Mercury - 12 July 2013
New-look Point plans revealed
DEADLINE LOOMS TO AIR YOUR VIEWS
DETAILS of major changes to the original Point Waterfront Development in Durban, including a 33storey skyscraper at the harbour entrance, became public yesterday amid concerns about the limited time allowed for people to comment on the latest changes.
The revised plans are a “scaleddown” version of the original plans which sparked a series of court cases and a bumper sticker campaign by opponents who feared that the popular Vetch’s Pier and beach would be covered in concrete.
Although the provincial government approved the controversial plans in 2009, the DurbanPoint Development Company was forced back to the drawing board and signed a “ceasefire” settlement agreement late last year with the Save Vetch’s Association and the Durban Paddle Ski Club.
In terms of the compromise agreement, opponents agreed to drop legal action in return for supporting a scaled-down version that would not encroach on Vetch’s Pier or the adjoining beach.
This week, new details were published as part of amendments to the environmental authorisation process.
While the Point Yacht Club has welcomed the new plans, the Durban Paddle Ski Club is to consult legal advisers to scrutinise whether they are consistent with the settlement plan.
Point Yacht Club commodore Trevor Donald said the final plans would create a major new attraction for the city.
“We think the water sports clubs will be getting one of most exciting clubs in South Africa, with a fantastic outlook on the sea, and so we are very enthusiastic.”
But Johnny Vassilaros, of the Durban Paddle Ski Club, who played a leading role in halting the original plans, said the new plans had raised some concerns.
For example, there were plans for a new boardwalk passing directly through the launching area, as well as possible size restrictions to the original boat launching area.
Di Dold of the Coastwatch group also objected to the new boardwalk, calling it a “clear contravention” of the settlement agreement.
“If the developers want to build a new promenade it must be located above the erosion line,” she said.
There was also confusion about how much time remained for the public to comment.
A notice, dated July 2, indicates a 14-day comment period – suggesting the deadline expires on Tuesday (July 16).
Environmental consultant Pravin Amar agreed that amendments were sent out only on Saturday and that some people might have received documents only this week.
When it was suggested that most people would have only a few days to comment, Amar insisted that the 14-day period was an instruction from the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs.
The Durban Undersea Club has scheduled a report-back meeting for Monday at 6pm.
According to a new 50-page motivation plan prepared by the Iyer Design Studio, some of the main features include a small “waterfront basin” instead of the original yacht and small craft “harbour”.
Originally, an 18-storey hotel would have been built on top of Vetch’s Pier. Now, a 20-storey “five or six-star iconic hotel” would be built along the new north pier. Another new feature is a 33-storey tower block at the base of the north pier, likely to incorporate offices, shops and flats.
The most significant change is that most office, flat and shop buildings will be significantly taller.
This is because the settlement agreement specified that the developers would not reduce the original “bulk” in development.
The Iyer Design proposal said the extra height of the new buildings would not create shadow problems on adjoining beaches.
Shadow projections are based on existing city guidelines to avoid tall buildings blocking out sunlight on beaches before 3pm during winter.
Neels Brink, project director for the Durban Point Development Company, said he could not comment on the 14-day comment period. He also declined to speculate when construction might begin
Investors eye Point Waterfront
July 11 2013 at 10:42am
By BARBARA COLE
The latest plan for the Point Waterfront, which has the canal now coming out at the base of North Pier, hotels and different buildings.
International investors are eyeing opportunities at the Point Waterfront in the wake of the historic settlement agreement between the developers and opponents.
The groundbreaking compromise deal struck between the Durban Point Development Company (DPDC), and The Save Vetch’s Association (SVA) and the Durban Paddle Ski Club signed at the end of last year ended 10 years of legal wrangles – and has now sparked renewed interest in the multibillion-rand strategic project.
“An increased interest from national and international investors has been noticed since the agreement,” a spokesman for the DPDC said on Wednesday.
Most of the interest has been for a parcel of land known as the “retail quarter”, which has retail, residential, office and hotel rights, with the retail element being integrated with the current uShaka retail offering.
The development is being marketed by Trade & Investment KZN, which has access to international investors looking for opportunities.
It is also one of the KZN Growth Coalition’s priority projects.
There had been “added interest” for the three hotel sites near uShaka’s overflow car park.
The sites could also be consolidated into one, and there had been interest in a few permutations, the DPDC spokesman said