PE landmark receives overdue makeover

2016-04-06 06:00

PORT Elizabeth’s well-known landmark, the Campanile Memorial, is currently being refurbished.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) have been assigned with the monument’s refurbishment which should be completed next year.

MBDA marketing and communications manager Luvuyo Bangazi, said part of the work and renovation planning have already taken place last month.

“If all goes according to plan, the Campanile will be reopened to the public by March or April next year,” Bangazi said.

He added that Campanile Memorial renovations will cost about R5 million.

“We do have a budget that we are working on. We do not have a final budget but roughly just over R5 million is estimated at the moment,” Bongazi said.

The Campanile Memorial is about 53.5m tall with 204 steps which lead to the top of the tower where a carillon of 23 huge bells can be viewed.

Bongazi explained that the Campanile Memorial’s makeover has been long overdue.

“The Campanile is 92 years old; the bells are about 83 years old. The Campanile has withstood weather impacts, storms and floods. A structural assessment has been conducted and a lot of work needs to be done.”

“The structural assessment showed that the Campanile is not safe. The steel structure where the bells hang is the most affected. The building is 92 years old and it should have been restored long ago,” he said.

The Campanile, which was built to commemorate the 1820 Settlers, stands in Jetty Street and took up to five years to build.

Bongazi mentioned that they are planning to modernise the building.

“We are looking at modernising the Campanile by bringing cultural themes to the bell mechanisms. The modernising is to be in relation to the history but also relevant to current democracy,” he said.

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