The Buffalo City Metropolitan Development Agency (BCMDA) is the development arm of the Municipality and tasked with assisting to transform the development space in the City. It was re-established two years ago and a new Board was appointed in February 2017.
The Agency has slowly moved into the space of project delivery. Notable achievements are the Cleaning and Greening programme funded by the National Department of Environmental Affairs, that was implemented in Orange Grove and Nompumelelo. These brought much needed opportunities for 80 young men and women in these areas. It also augmented the work started by the Call2Action in Settlers Way and the Beachfront. The Municipality, Agency and the private sector will need to find collaborative ways to continue and sustain these interventions. During the 2017 festive season until May 2018 the Agency provided much needed safety and security services at the East London Esplanade to ensure visitors to the beachfront can enjoy their spaces without fearing for their safety.
The Agency has also reached out and partnered with non-profit organisations in various communities throughout the city. On 7 June 2018 the Agency launched the Community Development Projects (CDP) that they support on behalf of the Municipality. Ten (10) organisations fulfil a role that government cannot always respond to in the manner they do. The projects involved assisting Creches and Educare Centers, Youth and Empowerment interventions, Orphanages, Food Gardens and Waste Cleaning services amongst others in Scenery Park. Southernwood, Mdantsane, Nxamkwana, Tyolomnqa, Mpongo Location, Duncan Village and even Selborne. This work needs to continue and we urge the Agency to expand this work into more socio-economically distressed areas. On Mandela Day and as part of giving back to communities the BCMDA staff reached out to two of the creches and spent the day with the kids and other community members.
The upgrading of the Beachfront projects in particular the upgrading of Court Crescent into an interactive park has gone through a rigorous public process and is currently at Environmental Impact Assessment and Working Drawing stages. The BCMDA is looking forward for this project to turn sod in 2019. Water World, which draws many people during especially our summer season, will also be upgraded by the Agency and will also see implementation in 2019.
The role of the Agency is, however, that of a game-changer BCM Council resolved that the Agency took over the Sleeper Site land. To date the Public Investment Corporation has committed to see this site develop into a mixed-use government precinct. This work is important as it will see a massive revamp of the East London inner-city.
Lastly, the Agency will leverage developments on municipal land and is talking to various investors and partners to take up the opportunity of making this a city of opportunities.
>> Eldrid Uithaler PhD (Geography: Earth Stewardship Science – NMMU), SAPI
Executive Manager: Development Facilitation, Buffalo City Metropolitan Development Agency