City set to grow in leaps and bounds with R5?bln expansion project

2013-11-08 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG is on an upward trend, with more potential investors sending in applications to do business in the capital city, and council responding with a more welcoming stance to fast-track big investments.

Acting municipal manager Dr Ray

Ngcobo told the city’s Executive Committee yesterday that the growth trajectory of the city was on an upward spiral.

Ngcobo said that now that the court proceedings that had delayed phase three of the Liberty Midlands Mall were over, they needed to sign a service level agreement before the R500 million investment for the city could begin.

The mall development is one of the major developments in the city, coupled with various other projects that are proposed for construction at more than R5 billion.

Ngcobo was tabling a report on business retention and the expansion programme for the city.

He said this growth was the reason why they had acquired another flight from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg with the introduction of the new SA Express route, which started operating last week.

“We have all the features of being a metro and 2025 is likely to be the year when the PMB airport would have saturated its growth potential; our ultimate plan is for our city to be able to land a Boeing flight,” said Ngcobo.

Ngcobo said previously there were problems with the approval of plans, which delayed some projects.

“Those units that were expected to have input were delaying the process so they streamlined processes by creating the plans approval committee,” he said.

Ngcobo said they had tasked this committee to focus on high impact projects, such as the Liberty Midlands Mall. “This committee takes decisions on the spot and makes recommendations to the building control officer,” he said.

Ngcobo said they were working very hard to streamline all development application processes and procedures to ensure that these investments are realised in the very near future.

“We have ensured that we operate as a one stop shop for all investment applications and developers. We have a special interest on fixed capital formations that can remain in our city for longer,” said Ngcobo.

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert welcomed the news of more business applications, saying it was a positive sign of growth for the city.

He was particularly pleased to hear the possibility that the city was aiming to have a direct flight from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town. “It would be easier for him to visit the DA’s Federal Leader, Helen Zille if the city’s plans materialised,” said Lambert to the laughter of Exco members.

The following are main developments

planned for the final stages:

• Campsdrift water front — Environment Investment Assessment outstanding. Mixed use development. Value: R1,6 billion.

• Ibhubesini industrial development — Planning and Development Act approved.

Value: R1,1 billion.

• Burton heights — Final designs being finalised. Mixed use special commercial zone.

Value: R1 billion.

• Liberty Midlands Mall — Value: R500 million.

• Brookside shopping centre in downtown Pietermaritzburg — Value: R300 million

• Rita Light industrial park in Ashburton — Value: R300 million.

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