Upgrade for station

2010-10-08 00:00

ANOTHER major development is on the cards for Pietermaritzburg — the city’s historic railway station precinct is set to undergo major rehabilitation.

Scheduled to start in March next year, the project will include a business express train service from Durban and will have a major economic impact on the station and its surrounding area.

Speaking at a sitting of the executive committee (Exco) yesterday, the publicity officer of the Mahatma Gandhi memorial committee, David Gengan, said Pietermaritzburg is one of 28 stations selected nationwide for a programme aimed at rehabilitating railway stations.

The project is being initiated by Intersite, a subsidiary of the Public Transport Agency of South Africa.

Gengan said it will aim to encourage more people to use trains and it will add much value to the N3 corridor project.

The station will have to be rehabilitated, he said, “and the properties around it will be investigated in respect of likely developmental opportunities”.

“Transportation will have to be provided to and from the station, creating huge opportunities for transportation companies,” said Gengan in his report.

Although planning is still in the early stages, Gengan said the development of a possible terminal for a long-distance bus service will also be considered.

“The once vibrant economy of the area has declined due to the area being bypassed by the major transport systems …

“The revitalisation of the area can only be achieved if people are brought back into the precinct as residents, shoppers, students, commuters and workers,” Gengan said in his report.

Residential properties north of the station have already been earmarked for commercial and inner city housing development.

He added: “This project has already been packaged and will probably be the first development in the precinct.”

Intersite presented the project to a recent meeting attended by the municipal manager, speaker, mayor and the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta). The MEC asked the municipality to take the project forward.

Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr was elated, saying: “I think that this is a very exciting development.”

The financial contribution expected from the municipality has not yet been quantified, but Cogta has told the municipality it will consider providing funds to improve infrastructure around the station.

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