New Ela Beach 'world-class'

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The Ela Beach Redevelopment Project is aimed at upgrading Port Moresby’s historic Ela Beach into a world-class facility.

Work is expected to be completed in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in November this year.

The Beach, once the home ground for the nestling of giant sea turtles (from which it gets its name; Era/Ela is Motuan for turtle), was used as the site for a jail, a hospital, a cricket pitch, tennis court, shooting competitions, horse-racing, canoe-racing, an airstrip and a wireless telegraph station during the Australian colonial administration.

However, it never had any major improvements done to it since then and this is the first deliberate effort put into its upgrade.

When completed, the new Ela Beach will be as good as what The Strand is like to Townsville, Australia.

The NCDC project team travelled to Townsville as part of the project study and implemented much of the recommendations from Townsville City Council engineers.

Three groynes have later added to keep with coastal engineering. Groynes are necessary in that they create and preserve beaches from being washed away by interrupting water flow and limiting the movement of sediment.

The three groynes will also cater for public amenities and help in creating separate beach precincts. Starting from the western end is the Lagatoi Beach, bordered by APEC House and Groyne 1.  Lagatoi Beach is the cultural hub of Ela Beach where the Hiri Moale Festival and all cultural activities will be staged. Upon Groyne 1 will be the food court.

Between Groyne 1 and Groyne 2 is the Family Beach. On Groyne 2 will be situated an amphitheatre that will hold up to 2,000 people.

Between Groyne 2 and Groyne 3 is the Sports Beach which will hold three basketball courts and three beach volleyball courts – all of them with seating areas.

When finished, the new Ela Beach will have car parking with lighting for up to 370 cars, 3.2km of paved footpath with lighting, disable-friendly facilities with minimum stairs, two boat ramps, three distinguished beaches, 1.7hq of recreational park area, 120 picnic tables, 50 barbeque areas, 50 rubbish bins, three toilets and shower blocks, two headlands for food court/café development, 2000 seat amphitheatre which will have work begin on it after APEC.

Also included will be a children’s playground, turtle-themed family area with up to 200sqm of shaded area, three beach volleyball courts, three basketball courts, flood light capabilities for the courts for night use, 1500 seating for all the courts with shading, themed cultural sculptures, Lagatoi sail shelter, history boards, up to 700 trees and palms 0.5ha of green zone and security.

Built into one of the beach precincts is a natural pool for swimming during low tides so people can still enjoy a swim no matter the time.

For its foundation, the new Ela Beach has a “retaining wall” built into it to prevent severe damage during heavy storms – another recommendation from The Strand engineers that was also adopted.

“This is probably one of the most important investments NCDC is making for Port Moresby, in that, Ela Beach will be used by all the people of Port Moresby on a daily basis for as long as the city is in existence. The social and health benefits to the lives and wellbeing of the people is immeasurable,” Senior Project Engineer Ravu Frank has said.

For the management of the new beach, Frank said NCDC is looking into the possibility of having it outsourced so that it can remain sustainable and usable.

Port Moresby residents should welcome this latest public amenity and work at taking care of it so that it can last for them into the future.

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