Knysna upgrade central to plan for pedestrians

Posted On Tuesday, 12 December 2006 02:00 Published by
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A central area in Knysna's business district is scheduled for intensive upgrading next year
By Francois Rank and Kristin Paremoer

A central area in Knysna's business district is scheduled for intensive upgrading next year.

Templeman and Memorial squares are to be revamped into a more pedestrian-friendly environment in an effort to revitalise the CBD.

"After about two years of thorough planning and consultation, we are delighted to announce that this project is finally being implemented," said municipal manager David Daniels.

The planning included a public participation process that addressed various aspects of the development, such as surrounding businesses and property owners, traders and existing leases, parking facilities and traffic flow.

Knysna's town council recently gave its full support to the project.

"Our primary objective with this project is to transform Memorial and Templeman squares into a vibrant and attractive entity as the focal point of Knysna," Daniels said.

Council has approved R1,7-million for the project.

Templeman Square will be the focus of phase one of the project, with developments including kiosks for traders and an amphitheatre. Access to St George Street from Main Road will be allowed only to pedestrians and delivery vehicles.

Phase two will also encompass the renovation of Memorial Square, which will not be as extensive. Memorial Square will be involved in phase one only to accommodate the displaced traders that currently use Templeman Square. The leases of the informal traders have expired but these will be renegotiated and the plan contains provision to improve the conditions under which the traders operate.

Daniels said the municipality hoped to limit any inconvenience caused to business on the square by the renovations.

"We have appointed someone to negotiate with businesses and the informal traders in the square and although there obviously will be some disruptions, we are hoping to keep these to a minimum.

"Once the development is finished, it will be a much better centre for business. I think the businesses there will benefit."

Currently the tender documentation is being prepared and will be advertised by Friday. Interested tenderers will visit the site early in January next year and the tender process will close by the end of that month.

Construction is scheduled to begin in March next year.

"If everything goes according to plan, this project will be completed before the start of the 2007 Oyster Festival," said Daniels.

He said the municipality would also put a stop to any traffic wanting to use the square as a shortcut or thoroughfare.

The recently vacated Standard Bank building in Main Street will house the municipality's customer care centre and Daniels said the enhancing of the square would have a positive effect on the centre as well.

Eastern Province Herald

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

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