eThekwini confident construction will be over by kickoff

THOUGH construction workers can be seen on almost every piece of Durban's Golden Mile, the city's managers are certain that "we'll be ready" for the World Cup kickoff.

The Golden Mile is a 4km stretch of beaches, promenades, hotels, theme parks, swimming pools and restaurants. When the city proposed its upgrade three years ago there was an uproar.

And despite assurances by city manager Mike Sutcliffe that the facelift would be complete by the end of May it looks like a mad race against time.

But Sutcliffe took eThekwini municipality's executive committee and the media on a tour of a R120million upgraded beachfront to show off the progress made. He insisted that when the games begin on June 11 construction will have ceased.

He said the facelift involved dividing the famous beachfront into three nodes - Addington, New and Dairy beaches.

"The main elements of the Addington Beach node include a new structure north of the former lifesaving premises housing a restaurant, ablutions and lifesaving facilities.

"The New Beach node extends from the open arena opposite the eastern end of Dr Pixley KaSeme Street (formerly West Street) to the south of XL Restaurant, where development includes the creation of new open spaces and walkways.

"On the Diary Beach there is now increased parking and a new restaurant facing onto the pool," said Sutcliffe.

He said in its planning the city had also ensured that there was a "family entertainment area".

"We thought it was important to create an area where there was no alcohol allowed. This area will be in front of the Elangeni Hotel," he said.