No less than 86 Centurion Hotel staff members are being retrenched after the hotel’s temporary closure in August last year.
The process started two weeks ago and Tuesday next week another meeting with the unions is due.
According to a director of the Legacy Hotels group, Gert Brumme, the group was simply not willing to risk the safety of guests staying at the hotel any longer.
The danger is posed by floods at the Centurion lake and Hennops river during the rainy season.
Brumme explained that during heavy rainfall, water from the Hennops river, right across the road from the hotel, floods the property as it finds its way to the lake which borders the property.
“Due to pollution and silt built up in the lake, the water gets trapped and embanks onto the property. The water level then simply rises as there is nowhere for the water to drain to.
“On 9 December 2019 we had to remove 65 guests with two helicopters due to a flood. We were lucky that no-one got injured and no damage was caused to guests’ property. Three years ago, however, 11 cars were flooded in the parking area,” Brumme said.
Brumme said the metro started to open floodgates around July last year, which helps a lot.
It is, however, no solution to the problem. He said the metro also started cleaning up the river area yesterday.
Johan Venter, development director of Legacy Hotels group, said the group approached the metro at the end of last year with a proposal of various options to safeguard the hotel against floods.
“We will meet with the metro on Tuesday to discuss possible solutions.”
Brumme said the group conducted a study of the change in the 100 year floodplain caused by the pollution and silt build-up in the lake area.
“We are exploring the possibility of building a 4.5m high wall around the property, as well as a 4.5m high bridge as a safety route for evacuations.”
Ward councillor Peter Sutton said “there has always been a plan on the table”.
“We already had discussions with all the stakeholders in the area. We will now proceed to re-activate the plan. Everyone is on-board, a budget has been allocated, and I also took it up with the new mayor.
“I believe Tuesday’s meeting with the hotel group will only take our plan to the next level to solve the problem.”
This article was republished from Rekord East with permission