MBDA: R40 million Singaphi Street Environmental upgrade breaks ground

BY SUPPLIED - AUGUST 20, 2014

The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) today (Wednesday 20th August) moved into New Brighton’s Singaphi Road, kick starting a R40 million, multi-year environmental upgrade. The breaking of ground is a culmination of long hours and months of consultation with various stakeholders as well as gathering local community input in order to shape the nature and form of the upgrade. Singaphi Street, situated in the old township of Red Location is a strategic access route to one of the City’s tourism icons, the Red Location Museum.

“This project is unique in many respects, in that the community was very clear in terms of what they wanted in their neighborhood. So instead of architects and consultants coming up with design solutions, the public, through a number of conceptual and creative workshops, were equipped to come up with the theme and concept that the architects would then express in design,” said MBDA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Pierre Voges.

Phase one of the project which kicks off today with a budget of R12m (to June 2015) will see a number of Small previously disadvantaged local contractors getting a significant portion of the work. More importantly the area will see a direct injection in terms of job creation and business sales. Initially, over 100 direct jobs will be created through the main contractor and sub-contractors immediately.

“This is a good story for the community and it could not have come at a better time than just before the festive and Christmas season,” says ANC ward Councilor Frans.

“I have been lobbying, engaging and interacting with many role players in this project from day one. There have been numerous delays and interruptions along the way, but the important issue now is that work has started, people are employed, local SMME’s have been given a chance and an opportunity to participate meaningfully, for that reason, I am satisfied,” says an ecstatic Frans.

“The MBDA is not taking any chances, ensuring that the SMME’s on the project receive the necessary support and mentoring that will assist them to deliver, grow and progress. We have appointed a young and experienced construction Engineer Representative whose job is to provide on-site support for the duration of the programme. Venturing into the City’s townships in this way has been long overdue. The MBDA has gained enough experience over 10 years and now it’s time to plough it back where it is needed the most,” said Voges.

Though primarily being the construction of a new road, the upgrade will include the creation of multipurpose community parks. These include children’s play parks, arts, music, an entertainment park, a fitness and health park, various traffic calming measures, street furniture and décor, trading spaces and landscaping.

The agency hopes to be able to convince the NMBM council to consider amending or expanding the MBDA’s mandate in order to develop a more focused, long term intervention strategy in key township areas.

“We want to get to a point where a resident of New Brighton does not feel less taken care of or as a second class citizen because of the environmental situation in his or her neighborhood. Townships can and should be developed to the same level or better than other city suburbs. It is possible; we just need to be a little bit more creative in how we go about it. The MBDA is the perfect vehicle for that,” concluded Voges.

Photo Caption: Councilor Kholekile Frans addressing the community at the Site Handover.