At an intimate media breakfast this morning, journalists got insight into the freshly revamped eMdloti Improvement Project. This is the latest in a line of UIPs to crop up in KZN, including Umhlanga and Ballito.
eMdloti UIP manager Terry Ann Rens has been at the helm of the project for two years and shared her enthusiastic outlook for the future. “When we started the project it was, as with most, focused on security. But the long term vision now incorporates our new slogan: ‘safe.clean.green’. We want to upgrade the general look and feel of Umdloti.”
The breakfast was attended by representatives from Aon, the company sponsoring the eMdloti UIP. Also on the panel was Tongaat Hulett development executive Sithembiso Mthembu, who explained the corporation’s involvement: Tongaat Hulett owns a 750ha holding east of the M4, from the Ohlanga to Umdloti River. This holding includes the protected forest that forms an integral part of Umdloti. A proposed mixed used development in the area has already received a favourable response from international investors in Asia and Europe. “We fully support the UIP and appreciate the need to have a well-managed community as part of our development model. There will certainly be synergies between our project and the eMdloti UIP for maximum benefit. We expect high-level joint planning to begin shortly.”
Terry Ann agreed, citing their desire to link the UIP with the impending development, which is aimed at the higher LSM bracket. Issues regarding upgrading existing infrastructure within eMdloti were also discussed, as the development is expected to increase traffic to the beach. Plans to beautify the forest and grant ‘responsible access’ to the protected area are also being looked at.
The Umhlanga UIP has parented the eMdloti UIP to an extent, providing guidance during the developmental stages. Precinct manager Dewet Geldenhys shared how the UIP positively impacted downtown Umhlanga Rocks. “It has upped investor confidence in the area, which increased property value. UIP is about sharing the beauty of your area, not making it exclusive in any way. The relationship between the UIP team and top management in the municipality is key to the success of the project.”