RESIDENTS in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro recently came together to discuss key issues around the development of the Central Business District (CBD) in Port Elizabeth.
This after the Nelson Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) hosted an inner-city renewal stakeholder engagement in an effort to address certain issues.
The objective of the renewal is to produce spatial and social transformation, increase opportunity for job creation, and improve access to the city for all residents.
According to the MBDA communications officer, Bulali Dyakopu, the objective of the renewal is to produce spatial and social transformation, increase opportunity for job creation, and improve access to the city for all citizens of NMB.
â€œThe MBDA has received various inquires about the current state of Central; hence efforts are made to consult broadly and widely about key issues that are of concern to the inner-city users.
Tabled issues which were discussed include road configurations, relocation of trading stations, use of open buildings as creative spaces, parking and so much more,â€? Dyakopu said.
The CBD is considered to be the backbone of the city as it provides a place of work, municipal administration, business support and schooling.
According to Dyakopu, the MBDA strives to follow an in-depth public participation process in developing an inclusive inner-city renewal programme that will embrace all its people and cultures in a post-apartheid era.
MBDAâ€™s project leader in job creation and tourism, Oyama Vanto, said, â€œThe current approach is to re-look and renew, to make way for all cultures that exist in the metro and to identify themselves within the city through heritage preservation.â€?
Key issues discussed at the stakeholder engagement included:
- Bringing and trusting young people, artists and entrepreneurs to collaborate on the new envisioned city;
- Improving road configurations and parking;
- The lack of safety and security as a cause of the city deteriorating and restraining tourism opportunities;
- Seeking opportunity in growing the number of students in the area;
- Bringing innovation and having free WiFi available to the public;
- Fixing the buildings including artistic representation;
- Culture and heritage preservation;
- Having a vibrant, lit, active city after 17:00 â€“ â€œcity that does not sleepâ€?.
Vanto commented, â€œI am happy with the public turnout; it is diverse and seeks to truly represent all cultures that exist in the metro to identify themselves within the city.â€?
Vanto also said that the potential of the city was immense, and it needed to be redefined to build a new CBD.
â€œMore public engagements will be held around the city. We encourage the public to attend knowing that the MBDA has the peopleâ€™s interests at the centre of its mandate,â€? Vanto added.