There will be less surfers leaping (or left dangling by their leashes) from North Beach and Bay of Plenty pier for the next few months. That’s because a maintenance project to repair and spit-polish the Golden Mile’s most recognisable structures is about to get underway.
Part of the process will include topping up the levels of the rocks between the pylons, which has been done in the past and resulted in greatly improved sandbanks. So, in the long run it will be worth the extra metres paddled from the beach. They’ve asked kindly that surfers don’t jump over security fences to access the pier during closure, which will be tempting, but illegal. So be nice.
More good news is that they’re looking to tackle the water quality issues caused by blockages in the stormwater system at the same time.
Here’s a notice sent by Clint Chrystal of the Coastal Engineering Department of the eThekwini Municipality notifying the public about the maintenance project:
RE: Maintenance of North Pier and Dairy Pier
Just a quick email to let you know that the long awaited maintenance project for North Pier and Dairy Pier is about to commence. The award process of the project is almost finalised.
This project will entail maintenance of the pier structures, a re-construction of the North Pier stormwater system, and a re-instatement of the rock levels. The maintenance will be of a general nature to fix anything broken on the pier (such as railings, brackets etc).
The re-construction of the North Pier stormwater system will address the stormwater problem in terms of flow and prevent stagnation of water. An investigation of the stormwater system will also commence to get to the bottom of the water quality issues of this stormwater outlet.
Finally, and most importantly for the surfing community, is the re-instatement of the rock levels. This will be done using an environmentally friendly approach, with four ton geofabric containers being used to get the ‘rock’ levels within the pier rasied. After numerous discussions with the surfing community, it has emerged that the decrease in rock level over time has changed the current fields and wave quality. By re-instating the rock levels back to the original design level from a maintenance perspective, we hope to indirectly also improve the current fields and wave quality. On-going monitoring will hopefully highlight any changes post-project.
The piers will therefore be closed to the public for several months. We aim to not have both piers closed at the same time for too long and we will try stagger the construction process between the piers as much as possible. We acknowledge the frequent use of the piers by the public, and in particular the surfing community, but do ask that when the piers are closed that people do not ‘sneak’ past fencing, just to avoid paddling out in the rip.
We do hope that this project will benefit the surfing community in the long term, and bring back some of the legendary waves that the old school guys often talk about. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee this!
Coastal Engineering Department
166 K.E Masinga Road