Investment boost forecast to follow upgrading

Posted On Thursday, 07 December 2006 02:00 Published by
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The R12m first phase upgrading of Govan Mbeki Avenue will be finished in June next year giving the Central Business District a new look and a pleasant ambience
By Max Matavire

The R12-million first phase upgrading of Govan Mbeki Avenue will be finished in June next year giving the Central Business District a new look and a pleasant ambience, say the project's co-ordinators.

During a tour of the street on Tuesday, Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) chief executive Pierre Voges assured business owners along the street who were initially opposed to the project, that they wold love the changes after completion.

He also told them that informal traders would no longer trade in front of their shops, as they would be moved to the middle of the paved lane with their wares under canopies.

There are two contractors working on the upgrading of the street. One contractor is relining and refurbishing two corroded sewers that run underneath the street, and the other is working on the surface doing pavings and other civil services.

Already work has also started on the paving of side streets which go towards Strand Street. A project engineer said work on the first 450mm diameter sewer is 95 percent complete and work on the biggest one, a 900mm diameter pipe, is 45 percent complete.

Work on the sewers was said to be "highly specialised" as they were being repaired without digging up the surface. The engineers go down inside the pipes and reline them without disruptions happening on the surface.

"We conducted research on the modes of transport used by people to come to the city, and studies have shown that about 75% of people coming to the CBD use public transport which drops them at the terminus and they walk into town. Govan Mbeki Avenue must be a people-dominated street, and not a vehicle-dominated one," said Voges.

Plans are to install an escalator rolling down from Chapel Street near the Donkin to Govan Mbeki Avenue. Lighting in the side streets will be improved. He said construction would stop next Friday to allow Christmas shoppers to go about their business without disturbance.

The project which will see the entire Govan Mbeki Avenue upgraded will be done in phases. The first phase is from the Vuyisile Mini Square at the City Hall to Donkin Street. Voges said funds would be requested in the coming financial year to continue the next phase from Donkin Street to Russell Road.

At the same function, MBDA chairman Sipho Pityana said the upgrading, coupled with the proposed tax incentive scheme for new investors and the extended security and cleansing programmes, would attract investment to the CBD.

"The project has a multiplier effect as property rates will improve. We have had good co-operation from informal traders. We want them in the city, but their trading must be regularised.

"We are not chasing them away. We hope the people of Nelson Mandela Bay will appreciate the project," said Pityana.

Hedwig Crooijmans, of The Matrix Consortium, said the project co-ordinators noted that the only eyesore after the street was completed would be the Old Post Office tower looming over the City Hall from behind. She said owner Ken Denton should renovate it as it looks "ugly".

Eastern Province Herald

Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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