BOSCOMBE’S controversial surf reef is set to re-open in April after Bournemouth council received insurance payouts of more than £300,000 to fund repairs.
Tourism chief Mark Smith said he hopes repairs to the reef will enhance a planned coastal activity park for the seafront.
The council has received two settlements, two years after the reef was damaged by a boat’s propeller in 2011.
Mr Smith said technical work is needed to return the structure to its original state.
“The council has successfully reached an insurance settlement for the surf reef and so is now undertaking the necessary work to ensure the reef is safe for people to use” he said.
“This is progressing well and the reef will form an integral part of the Coastal Activity Park which is scheduled to open in Spring 2014.
“The Coastal Activity Park plans will appeal to a wide range of people meaning that more and more residents and visitors will, once it is reopened, begin to enjoy the reef and the wider Boscombe seafront area, as an enhanced leisure amenity.”
The firm that built the £3.2 million surf reef, New Zealand-based ASR, has since gone into liquidation and Bournemouth council is one of its creditors.
The plans to re-open the attraction have been criticised by Labour councillor Ben Grower, who claims it has never worked and that money has been wasted.
He said: “To put the money back underwater is a complete waste and shows this council can’t learn from its mistakes.
“The council may put up a sign saying the reef is open in April but it still won’t work – it has never worked and people will still surf on the other side of the pier.”
Elliot Withers, a sales assistant at Sorted Surf Shop, said the structure has helped in the regeneration of Boscombe seafront and said the area has become “more upper class.”
He added: “It will be more beneficial to local businesses if it is re-opened because a lot of people still turn up, unaware that it is out of action.”