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Infrastructure as a lever for economic development

 • By : Eldrid Uithaler | Executive Manager, Development Facilitation BCMDA
The BCMDA has made significant strides over the last three years with regard to leveraging infrastructure development as a key cog in addressing the socio-economic conditions of the metro and at the same time provide a basis for enhanced tourism products. The Court Crescent and Water World, the agency’s flagship projects, has gone through the full design phase and the Agency is currently in the process of appointing contractors. In terms of the estimations, these projects will start in March 2020 and will see around 100 people employed directly on the project with an estimated 30 SMME’s taking up labor-intensive infrastructure packages. In preparation for these and various other potential work packages in infrastructure projects for SMME’s, BCMDA had a Supplier Development workshop on the 2 August 2019 which was attended by a vast number of companies representing various sectors in the supply and demand space.

To augment the flagship projects and utilise municipal land assigned to the Agency as an investment incentive, a process with the BCMDA appointed Panels of Transactional Advisers and Fund Originators were started in 2018. The response for development proposals was very positive and has progressed to the extent that Lease and Development Agreements are currently being concluded. This is specific to land parcels assigned to the Agency i.e. Marina Glen A, Sea View Terrace, Water World Phase 1, Sleeper Site and Victoria Grounds. The formal announcements of these projects and details concerning each investment were announced at the BCMDA Investment Conference on 27 and 28 November 2019.

The Buffalo City and the adjacent region possess rich cultural and political heritage for enhancing its tourism assets and potential. In terms of its mandate, BCMDA is also tasked to contribute to this enriching sector. As a result, a process ensued with the assistance of the HSRC to engage the various and relevant stakeholders to create a suite of projects under the umbrella of a Tourism Infrastructure Master Plan. The process of identifying feasible and catalytic projects is advanced and will soon be packaged for potential investors so that Buffalo City and the region, in general, maximise on the opportunities provided by the tourism industry.

Waste, among other things, has been seen as a massive deterrent for investors. The agency saw this as an opportunity to augment the services of the municipality. To that extent, it is currently implementing a waste management programme funded by the Dept of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF – former DEA) in 8 designated areas in the metro which employs 199 participants. This is further enhanced by cleaning designated areas as part of the Good Green Deeds (GGD) Friday programme launched by the President in March 2019. To take this programme to the next level, i.e. waste separation at source, BCMDA started the procurement of the various equipment and site containers which will serve as the point for separation. A uniform design for each of these sites i.e. material recovery facilities, is currently in progress and will be implemented once approval provided.

In addition, and building on the current waste programme, BCMDA applied for funding availed through National Treasury from the European Union for the continuation of waste management in the broader Metro. The requested funding amount is R49.7 million for the 2020 to 2023 financial period for a Duncan Village Buy-Back Centre and Integrated Waste Management Services.
Infrastructure enhancement needs to be complemented by other services, hence the Safety and Security service at the East London Esplanade is continued. Information from the service provider and SAPS is indicative of a reduction in criminality along the beachfront area. This service will now be extended to other areas due to the visible results in the beachfront area to Oxford Street in the CBD and St James and St George’s Streets in Southernwood.