Beach Front Monstrosities

I’m not a total Luddite or averse to property development in coastal areas – Lord knows we survived for five years by flipping three houses – but there’s a part of Sedgefield that just depresses me.

The Old Village, where we live, is the original cluster of houses around the lagoon you can see in my masthead pic. A lot of the early shacks and cottages have been renovated and some of the houses are massive. It’s still (mostly) aesthetically pleasing and real effort has been made by owners to keep trees and indigenous plant life.

About a decade ago the council decided to develop a stretch of beach front on the outskirts of the village. Named Myoli Beach, it took a while to get going, but boy, when it took off it exploded. Mansion after concrete mansion erupted, and each was bigger and more ostentatious than the last. Check out the pics below:

This is called Eagles-Rest-On-Sea - detail of name and, er, eagle below.

This is called Eagles-Rest-On-Sea - detail of name and, er, eagle below.

 

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No, you're not in Tuscany. Yes, this is a small village on the African beachfront.

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The house on the right is 2000 square metres, has a home theatre and heated pool - and just in case the power goes off and your pool cools there is also a 6 cyliner Diesel generator. It's for sale for ZAR14 million (about US$2m).

To put it all in context, Myoli borders on the Goukamma Nature Reserve, pictured below. When you see this wild beach, just what exactly makes you think of building a vast concrete monolith?

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2 Responses to “Beach Front Monstrosities”


  1. 1 shoreacres October 26, 2009 at 12:57 am

    I left a comment last night while on my laptop and accidentally hit the function key and erased it. I was so miffed I just went away and pouted.

    But here I am to give it another go!

    First, to your question: “When you see this wild beach, just what exactly makes you think of building a vast concrete monolith?” Answer: Nothing.

    But that’s not the answer of the developers, speculators, realtors and greedy landowners who are skilled in shell games and hungry for money. We see it everywhere, too, and the battle lines can be pretty sharply drawn.

    One of the most interesting battles right now is being fought over a road that runs along Galveston Bay. Ike decimated the houses there, many of which were small and old. Little by little the tear-down-rebuild sorts had been buying up land and substituting precisely what you show above, and they saw Ike as a windfall (so to speak). As one fellow said to me, “Those guys have been waiting for this for years. They can clean out the trash and put up some decent houses. That stretch will go high-dollar forever.”

    And even though our beaches aren’t anything like yours, and the water’s pretty ugly, they’re our beaches and we love them. The pressure to build, build, build is unceasing.

    Apart from ugliness, in places like the Atchafalaya watershed in Louisiana, the environmental impact is horrendous. They are slowly eliminating the wetlands that act as a natural buffer against hurricanes, and destroying the rest of the ecosystem in the process. And there’s no reason for it – they’re overbuilding for profit, not building to meet a need.

    OK. End of rant. Tell those people over there to build nice houses and play fair with everyone, or I’ll come over and give them what-for 😉

    • 2 Jeannine October 26, 2009 at 3:02 pm

      I like the rant – I rant myself about this, sometimes froth. And as you say, it’s all about profit, not need – most of these houses are occupied a couple of weeks a year, and quite often, a year or two after being erected, they’re on the market at ridiculous prices.
      One good thing about the recession, the building has come to a halt and the greedy pigs can’t offload their white elephants for love or money. Uh oh, I feel a rant coming on. . .


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