City delays storm damage repairs

Ward 97 councillor, Andre Beetge surveys the storm damage down to the embankment that runs along the Little Amanzimtoti River and Dick King Place.

Repairs to storm damage in Amanzimtoti and the city has been put on hold for yet another week.

An executive committee (exco) meeting to approve costs related to the damage which had been scheduled for 7 November, was postponed by the mayor to Tuesday, 14 November.

“This places everything on hold, notwithstanding the building industry which effectively closes on 15 December – a short five weeks’ time. The sanity of the decision to postpone the meeting must be questioned,” said ward 97 councillor, Andre Beetge.

Before repairs can begin, procedures have to be followed. It starts with the various departments each doing inspections of the sites to procure a project number. Exco then meets to approve funding for each project. As there are no funds for storm damage, savings from different departments have to be re-prioritised to the damage.

READ ALSO: Storm wreaks widespread damage across Amanzimtoti

Road rehabilitation, new road provisions, sidewalks, stormwater infrastracture to be replaced or upgraded and an array of other projects that have been planned and budgetted for have to be postponed while funds are moved across. These projects can be put on the backburner for up to five years.

Once exco approves the funding, it is allocated to the projects and a contract number is sent to the finance department. The city manager signs a letter of award, which is handed out to the contractors and only then do repairs commence.

READ ALSO: Hurricane, cyclone, typhoon, tornado – what’s the difference?

The municipality’s estimate of the storm damage across the engineering, electrical and housing departments has risen to about R576-million. “This could be closer to R600-million, as more unreported damage continues to come in,” said Cllr Beetge.

Out of town visitors, Gerald and Louise Lewis of Springs check out the damage to the bank along the Little Amanzimtoti River.

Two major repairs that need to be done in the greater Amanzimtoti area are the washaways above Wavecrest Road and along Dick King Place in Doonside. “What is worrying at Dick King Place is the stormwater line has been broken, so if we have more water coming, it could undermine the bank further,” said Cllr Beetge.

The bank has been undermined up to the Dick King monument, which Cllr Beetge said will be removed for safe keeping until the bank is stabilised.

Geotechnical drilling to repair the walkway bridge, which will now be put on hold.

Geotechnical drilling is currently taking place to repair the walkway bridge which was damaged in the June 2016 storm and washed away in December. That project will now be put on hold, as storm damage may be prioritised.

“The damage has been reported to the engineering department, but there is no quick fix,” said Cllr Beetge. “I am in constant contact with the engineering and other departments to receive updates on when repairs will commence.”

The undermined bank at the Warnadoone Ski-Boat Club’s launch site ramp.

A site meeting was held between the councillor, the Warnadoone Ski-Boat Club commodore, Glen Jansen and members of the engineering department to assess the damage to the undermining of the club’s launch site ramp on Wednesday morning, 8 November.

Geo bags will be used to repair the damage ahead of the start of the festive season. If repairs are not done in time, the club stands to lose an estimated R200,000 in revenue, as launches will have to be done further South at Umkomaas and Scottburgh, which falls under Ugu Municipality.

 

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  AUTHOR
Earl Baillache
Journalist

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