Station to get a makeover

2011-08-15 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S famous railway station will anchor a billion-rand makeover of the city’s railway precinct in an initiative by the Intersite and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) that aims to see more people taking the train as their first choice of transport.

Prasa awarded the five-year contract, with a estimated value of R1,7 billion, to a consortium in a joint-venture, comprising SSI Engineers and Environmental Consultants; Sirius Development Foundation. headed by Sipho Shezi; and Falcon Forest Trading.

Deena John, one of the partners in this consortium, said the make-over will see 187 000 square meters re-developed for multi-purpose use ranging from schools to offices.

On completion, John said the project will have warehouses, retail facilities, a shopping centre, educational facilities, commercial office rentals and community facilities.

“We want to create an environment where the capital city will have a place where they can work, live and play,” added John.

“It is too early to tell as to how many jobs will be created. However, there is a lot of employment opportunities to be created especially in the construction sector,” he said.

The city’s executive committee met representatives of the joint venture as they made their presentation to Exco on Friday, highlighting their progress on the development and also urging the Council to be fully supportive of this initiative. “We want to involve the municipality in the development of this project as early as possible so that we will be able to integrate our programmes with those of the Council to avoid any problems that may arise because we had not consulted the municipality,” said John.

John told council that getting their support is very crucial because this is one of the biggest projects to be tackled in the City in a very long time.

This initiative is projected to cost about R1,7 billion on completion, but that can change with time, said John. They signed the agreement with Prasa in May this year and the actual construction should begin by 2013, “because there is still a lot of planning, designing and feasibility studies that still needs to be done.

“We envisage that once this project starts it will be completed in about five years,” he said.

The Council said it is fully behind this initiative and their town planning division has already developed an integrated plan for this project.

Pietermaritzburg’s station is famous as the site where Mahatma Gandhi’s passive resistance started.

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