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Settlement reached over R35bn Durban’s Point Waterfront upgrade

Oct 27 2017 11:26
Tania Broughton, News24 correspondent

Durban - A R35bn project to further upgrade Durban’s Point Waterfront - which had stalled because watersports clubs in the area refused to vacate their premises - can begin in earnest after all parties signed a settlement agreement on Thursday.

The agreement provides for the future accommodation of all four clubs: the Durban Undersea Club, the Durban Ski Boat Club, the Point Yacht Club and the Durban Paddle-ski Club.

It brings to an end costly, and what was expected to be lengthy, high court litigation between the clubs and the Durban Point Development Company.

And as long as they vacate their clubhouses by November 14, it also puts paid to a bid by the company to sue the yacht and paddle-ski clubs for R12m for special damages the company says it has incurred because of their continued occupation of the premises.

The settlement agreement was made an order of court at lunchtime on Thursday, when a two-day trial to thrash out all issues was set to begin.

While the undersea and ski boat clubs had agreed to vacate their clubhouses, the other two  had dug in their heels, refusing to move because they claimed the company had reneged on a previous agreement which provided that the clubs, while under an umbrella body, would function autonomously at new premises under a new promenade.

There was also a dispute between the clubs as to how the umbrella body Point Water Sports Clubs (PWC) would be constituted.

The new agreement makes provision for all the clubs to relocate to temporary premises by November 14 and for members of all the clubs be given access to the new shared clubhouse.

Indicative that the war between the clubs is far from over, it also makes provision for the yacht and paddle-ski clubs to erect a "park-home" on the temporary site so that, if need be, they can operate separately.

This "separation" is expected to continue into the future when the clubs are given permanent homes just off Vetch’s Beach.

The agreement stipulates that the Point Water Sports Club will only comprise the undersea and ski boat clubs. It will have its own premises and the other two their own separate premises.

A source, who did not wish to be named, said the negotiations were tough but polite.

"The end game is not to thwart development, but to ensure the future of all watersports," he said.

In a message to members, Point Yacht Club manager Darryl Williams said the club found the terms "extremely favourable".

"The settlement will allow the PYC to continue conducting sailing regattas and activities from its own club at the Vetch’s Precinct, without reference to other parties and on terms which it finds extremely acceptable."

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