Victory salute for Durban Paddle Ski Club

Daily News
11 December 2012


WHAT a unique occasion and event – a modern day African version of the David and Goliath story (Daily News, December 6).

COMPROMISE: This is the story that appeared in the Daily News.

It is a story of courage, steadfast tenacity and remaining true to one’s beliefs. The small man, the Durban Paddle Ski Club standing firm in its convictions, resisting the financial might in funds and resources of the Durban Point Development Company.

Not armed with a sling and stone, but rather a fishing rod and reel, hooks and some barbed comments, the small man struggled for some while to reel the developer into shallow waters and up to the beach erosion line… And here the story changes…

The big fish, the Durban Point Development Company, was released from the hook to live again, a revitalised life.

Notwithstanding the commendable compromise reached between the Durban Paddle Ski Club and DPDC to set aside their legal dispute; there must be no victory celebrations at the slaying of Goliath but rather the earnest desire to communicate more fully, collectively striving for a common vision that all can embrace.

If this is achievable, the ultimate trophy will be the shining sustainable development; economically sound, socially enriching, environmentally sensitive and brimful of many wonderful opportunities and memories to come.

The collective victory salute will only be raised when the DPDC aspires to and implements both the desires and needs of the Durban citizens and balances the financial demands of a modern day city.

A unique East Coast African city development enriched by the blood, sweat and tears of all involved in the process of compromise and an outcome of which we can all be proud.



Eventually, a win-win deal

Daily News

December 7 2012 at 12:15pm

Credit must be given those who facilitated the breaking of the stalemate over a small craft harbour at Vetch’s beach, which had divided water sports bodies and angered developers and beach users.

The compromise reached, allowing a smaller development to go ahead while still protecting Vetch’s Pier and access to the beaches, took many months of hard work behind the scenes.

For 10 years the fight typified the kind so often played out between conservationists and wealthy developers. Driven by belief, the people who gave so much time to the Save Vetch’s Association proved that David could, at the very least, tie up Goliath until the giant became almost moribund.

The refusal by the Durban Paddle Ski Club, under chairman Johnny Vassilaros, to accept the original plan from the developers, formed a kernel around which opponents rallied. This led to the formation of the SVA.

The other water sport clubs had signed an agreement with the developers, opting to “fight from within”. The paddle ski club and its resolute defiance became an obvious target and was subject to harassment.

These tactics backfired when actions, such as getting the sheriff to seize members’ boats, drew irate water sport people into the fight.

The pact thus meant a triumph over animosity. Each side will bear their own legal costs. And the deal sets out how most of the beach, the pier and the reef are to be protected.

The developers have agreed not to hinder access by the general public to the beach zone, either during construction or beyond it. The agreement also allows the paddle ski club to join the other clubs in one body, still to be negotiated.

For the developers it offers a chance to inject much-needed growth into the Point area. Any bitterness after such a long fight, one which should have been settled 10 years ago, should now be set aside.

Durban has every interest in regenerating confidence and momentum in the Point Development.