The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), an entity of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality today marked a significant milestone in Singaphi Street, Red Location, New Brighton Port Elizabeth. The Singaphi Street Environmental Upgrade, a community driven initiative was officially launched by the Executive Mayor, Benson “Oom–Ben” Fihla at a community packed event on Singaphi Street.
The street upgrade will feature a new road surface planned to begin from Ferguson Road up to Olaf Palme Street. The beautification will include Public Art, Street Furniture, Children’s Play Parks, Traffic Education Cycling Park a Sports Training Park as well as possibilities for vendor trading areas with phase one estimated to cost at least R10m.
Speaking at the event, MBDA Chief Executive Officer, Pierre Voges said “This project is significant to the agency in that, the entire beautification aspect of the upgrade has been influenced and driven by the community themselves. Through an initiative supported by the local ward councilor Frans, a public meeting (attended by over 300 members of the community) was called where a group of fifty emerged as the steering committee of the project.” The core group then held various workshops and tours including Route 67, Donkin Reserve, facilitated by the MBDA and a team of consultants. The exposure of the community to completed projects such as the Donkin was mean to ignite thought processes, creativity and create a reference point as the Red Location precinct is very much part of the Route 67.
“It was important for the Planning and Design team to see and hear firsthand the stories that emanate from this area, then fuse them through a creative process in order to crystalize and visually depict the community’s vision for street” added Manager for Planning and Development, Dorelle Sapere. The MBDA was roped in by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to facilitate, project manage and see the Singaphi upgrade through to completion. Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Benson Fihla added “The MBDA has already demonstrated its capabilities and efficiencies with projects such as Route 67, Donkin reserve, Kings Beach and Govan Mbeki Avenue environmental upgrades, so as the City we felt we needed to leverage that experience to change the legacy of apartheid”.
The next step before major works begin will be clearing works, which will create a buzz in less than four weeks and these will provide immediate work opportunities for the community. Speaking at the event struggle veteran Mncedisi Mkhwetha said “We are really excited about our participation in the process that has unfolded here in our community”. It is clear that all those consultations are being taken into account and solutions are born out of the community” added, Mkhwetha. The MBDA will now go out to tender with the main contract, local SMME involvement being key and hopes to begin major works before the start of the holiday season.
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