‘All we want is a small place in the sun’ – Watersports clubs on Durban beachfront development

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The Durban Undersea Club [DUC] and the Point Yacht Club have been embroiled in a bitter impasse over a slew of issues – several of which have landed them in court.

The clubs‚ who collectively accommodate nearly 10‚000 members‚ appear to have reached a middle ground after a public meeting in Durban on Thursday night.

At the centre of the squabble is the beachfront site for four clubs‚ with contention over how the four would be incorporated.

The four – the Durban Undersea Club‚ the Durban Ski Boat Club‚ the Durban Paddleski Club and the Point Yacht Club – had agreed to share premises as the City and a Malaysian Developer move to break ground on the Point Waterfront Development.

The development is set to transform the Point Precinct with high-rise buildings and swanky beach facilities.

How that site for the clubs would be managed and the composition of a company to do so had sown disarray amongst the watersports enthusiasts.

The Point Yacht Club‚ aligned with the Paddleski Club‚ had accused the other two parties of hijacking the formation of an umbrella body and trying to combine all the clubs which each of them losing their individual identities‚ constitutions and members.

However‚ just hours before the public meeting went ahead‚ the warring factions appeared to have found a meeting point on the incorporation document and their future on the beachfront.

DUC chair Cuan Hall said that the relationship with the PYC had soured‚ and that they had revised to the MOI continuously.

“We have continuously revised the agreement‚ and we went back to previous meetings and we think we have given them [the PYC] what they want.

“We found a middle ground a long time ago. From when we actually wanted to adopt the MOI….It had already been drawn up and adopted‚” Hall added.

He said that protracted litigation had been expensive and unpleasant.

“They have been causing major disruptions and a huge amount of costs and it has not been in the good. We will go to our members on Monday and we will ask them to tell us whether we can adopt the MOI or not. We will invite the PYC to a board meeting to discuss their reservations. We believe the MOI as it has been developed is what the PYC has always wanted‚” he said.

“We need to persist and try make everybody happy and that is exactly what we are trying to do. All we want is a small place in the sun at the Point and preserve water sports.”

PYC Commodore Craig Millar said they had moved a massive step forward‚ but were “not out of the woods yet”.

“We have 100% moved closer to an agreement and that is fantastic and that model is all we have asked for. There are some other issues in the proposed MOI and there may be some problems within that‚ especially around governance and the power of the directors‚” he said.

“Empowering six directors of a private company to control the finances is a bugbear‚ the clubs should appoint the management. The concern is over the money involved which amounts to millions. That money should be going through the clubs‚ not via a third party company‚” Millar said.

He said that an arbitration process over the incorporation and the existing high court litigation would continue.

The situation was “tentatively positive”‚ he said.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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