NELSON Mandela Bay’s beachfront is set to take on a new and exciting feel, with the completion of the first phase in the redevelopment of the city’s Kings beach expected next month.
An investment of approximately R13 million saw the creation of a massive paved water body next to the parking area of Kings beach, fencing, grass, and a picnic area with a playground for children.
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) chief executive Mandlakazi Skefile said the long awaited upgrade of the beachfront would significantly boost tourism in the city.
“Our city has grown a solid reputation as an ideal family fun destination with a pristine forty kilometre coastline of golden beaches. We have relied on our beautiful beachfront to host our guests from across the world,” Skefile said.
“This redevelopment enriches our tourism offering and cements our ideals of a travel destination that caters to a wide range of travellers, from business to leisure guests.”
Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Zanoxolo Wayile said residents and tourists were attracted not only to natural beauty and good facilities, but were also extremely mindful of their personal safety.
“They will be able to enjoy a beachfront that is not only more attractive and enticing, but more importantly, a lot safer,” he said.
He added that the Kings beach development would serve as a flagship for the tourist industry and would signify immense growth in the industry and also the growth of a stable local economy.
“Kings beach is being restored as a magnificent jewel in the crown of Nelson Mandela Bay. It reconfirms the Bay’s unique position as a tourist hub characterised by a combination of water sports and attractions not offered by any other town or city in South Africa,” Wayile said.
Safety at the beachfront came into question two years ago after top Johannesburg business woman Andy Kawa was attacked at the beach.
Ms Kawa, attending the press conference to announce an update of the beachfront redevelopment, said “I take great pleasure and pride to be associated to a project that will return the natural resources of PE to its people by making the beach safe for both children and adults and rid it of bush dwellers and other criminals.”
Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) chief executive Pierre Voges said that safety at the beach had since become a priority for the city authorities.
“What happened to Ms Kawa on our shores is unacceptable. The Kings beach upgrade is an opportunity for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and MBDA to ensure that we do all we can to ensure that it never happens again and that we pay attention to the safety of citizens and tourists visiting the beach, which is why we will also be putting out a security tender at the end of phase two,” Voges said.
Phase two of the project will come at a cost of approximately R25 million and will include seating areas around the water body, additional paths and walkways over the dunes, an upgraded and expanded skateboard facility, basketball court, improved lighting and a more open landscaped area to promote better surveillance and safety.