Bonteheuwel residents can look forward to a complete CBD revamp in the near future as work is well under way, with phase two starting this month.
Phase one kicked off last year and saw to the entire CBD being fenced in, creating a safer feel for shoppers, pensioners in particular. It also included the employment of 25 men and women as ambassadors who were deployed in and around the CBD. Among their responsibilities were keeping the community informed, sanitising shoppers’ hands before they enter the centre and controlling access to the fenced off area in the CBD.
Their roles also included assisting elderly shoppers, keeping the CBD safe, and keeping their eyes on the ground for any developments in the area.
Phase two of the project is set to kick off later this month and will include the demolishing of the existing toilet facility and the building of a new one.
This phase will also include a revamp of the main building and is set to be complete in September before the start of phase three which includes hard landscaping such as flooring, trees, colourful structures, as well as the building of an open air amphitheatre, a sports facility, and a new informal trading area.
Currently traders are trading from structures they have put up themselves, outside of the Bonteheuwel multi-purpose centre. As part of the revamp, permanent structures will be put in place for them, providing shelter from the wet, windy, cold conditions in winter.
Bonteheuwel ward councillor, Angus McKenzie, said the upgrade meant a lot to residents as they had waited a long time for better shopping conditions.
He said construction work would create employment for local labour and sub-contracting from Bonteheuwel to reduce the number of unemployed residents in the area.
“This will happen through the EPWP data base and will also see an end to illegal dumping in the area. We are in the process of finding contractors so that phase two can kick off.
“With regards to the safety aspect of the workers, the ambassadors will be there, and Bonteheuwel has seen a reduced crime rate. The amphitheatre will provide a space for residents to showcase their talent,” he said.
Miskah Martin, said what the CBD really needed was a proper shopping centre, and sports facilities for the children and youth to keep them from joining gangs.
She said that Bonteheuwel was filled with talent but children had no safe spaces to practise their skills such as, for example, dancing.
“The dance group dances in the park but that is not safe. They need a proper safe space to practise and they don’t have that right now. We had a multi-purpose sports field and the children enjoyed soccer and netball but that fell through.
“Trading bays will be much appreciated by the traders especially for winter because at the moment they have to set up their own stalls every time,” she said.
Abie Clayton, said he was happy that work was well under way as residents were going out of the area to seek better facilities.
He also felt that Bonteheuwel needed a shopping mall and that all the buildings in the CBD needed a revamp as they were in a poor condition.
“Places for people to eat will also be nice and maybe even a gym. People go out of the area for these places so they can bring people back to the area and invest in the area,” he said.