PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - It seems Bitou and the Western Cape department of human settlements are finally seeing eye to eye on Plettenberg Bay housing issues.
The two spheres of government, along with affected residents, held a meeting on 17 October to figure out a way forward, specifically in New Horizons and Qolweni.
Municipal manager Lonwabo Ngoqo said the meeting addressed "confusion and doubts" surrounding housing developments for the area.
Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertuis Simmers was pleased that the municipality "finally agreed" to the plans. "We've had unnecessary delays … I commend the Qolweni and New Horizons community leadership for being steadfast in seeking to ensure that the initial plans are implemented, as agreed to with my office," Simmers said.
He added that it was agreed that 36 of 169 units earmarked for wards 2 and 3 would be completed by the end of March next year. "Pertaining to Qolweni and Bossiesgif, between now and 31 October, the provincial department, the municipality and the leadership of the Qolweni and Bossiesgif will work together to profile the people who are residing in the area where the 169 are to be built."
A meeting would be held in the near future, Simmers said, to finalise the "movement plan and implementation timeframes" for the construction of the 36 unites and the balance by December next year.
According to Ngoqo, the 36 houses will be erected in an area in Qolweni commonly known as "Rasta's" next to the N2.
He said provincial government supports the municipality's plans to start the servicing of Portion 20 of what is known as "Ebenezer land" and that the municipality agreed with the department's proposal to put up 200 permanent structures instead of the transitional residential area (TRA).
Simmers said his department is also committing to develop the full 1 600 units, along with the budget, so that the mixed-use development as per the approved layout plan can commence. "Initially it was estimated this development would deliver 1 470 opportunities, but after a technical assessment, this has increased to 1 600."
The minister said as R21.6-million is required for the bulk infrastructure for the project, the municipality will have to submit applications to funding sources such as the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG). "The department is willing to assist should there be a shortfall," Simmers stated.
"I'd like to encourage all residents of this municipal area to participate in our housing-demand database verification and registration drive over the weekend of 16 to 17 November when we'll be in the Garden Route District."
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