Call to make PMB ‘picture perfect’

2011-03-18 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG businesses will soon be able to brand public spaces in the city for the price of a few packets of flower seeds.

The initiative forms part of an action plan to beautify the city by reviving public spaces that have degenerated.

To achieve this, businesses will be encouraged to help restore the image of the city through a “garden city” campaign proposal. The Witness has pledged to support the initiative.

The proposal emerged at yesterday’s executive committee (Exco) meeting. Exco members were told that the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) had written to the municipality outlining the proposed campaign and requesting that the municipality endorse the initiative.

In the letter it is stated that there will be no financial implications for the municipality. Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr told Exco members that the campaign would be good for the city.

“Pietermaritzburg has always been a very pretty city, and has often been referred to as ‘the garden city’. Our public spaces have degenerated, and, of late, we have received a lot of negative publicity about the state of our city. Confidence in our proud capital has taken a serious knock, and this has affected business confidence and investor interest,” read the letter.

PCB chief executive officer Melanie Veness said the concept was developed because the Chamber wants businesses to make a physical difference in the city and put it back on top. She said the Chamber wanted residents to be proud of their city again. The PCB is proposing a “garden city” campaign, which has been called the “P3 Campaign” — Picture Perfect PMB.

“We are proposing a corporate competition that encourages businesses to either do up their own corporate garden, or to adopt a public space to landscape (like an island or a traffic circle). Business would then be allowed to display a standard sign for the campaign on their site, which includes a “thank you” from Msunduzi Municipality, the campaign name, the business’s name and the logos of the Chamber and the media partner (The Witness have agreed to come on board),” stated the letter.

The costs for the sign production will be carried by the business in their entrance fee. The thinking behind the project is that businesses can get relatively cheap brand-ownership of a public space in exchange for subsidising its beautification and subsequent maintenance.

The launch for this initiative is envisaged for next month.

Tarr said that one of the important elements of the campaign was that it would be able to also include and promote Small Micro Medium Enterprises (SMME’s) to maintain the gardens.

Potential garden service owners or landscapers can also be taught how to maintain the gardens when they are being landscaped, and they can be contracted to maintain the sites.



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