It can be done

2017-03-16 06:02

TRANSFORMATION is the big buzz word these days but today I want to share a form of transformation that can be positively applied here on the South Coast.

Last weekend we promoted at the impressive and well-attended Soweto Wine Festival but before the doors opened on Saturday, our team took a trip to a central Johannesburg precinct called Maboneng and what an eye opener the excursion was.

Situated in and around Fox Street, this hive of tourism and hospitality in a once no go area was abuzz with trendy, quirky eating and socialising spots, fashion outlets, museums, accommodation, art, craft and creative hubs.

The hundreds and hundreds of local and foreign people really made the place alive with a cosmopolitan shabby chic ambience amid tree lined avenues, street art, huge murals, an attractive mix of new and old architecture all within well maintained thoroughfares.

From being a run-down part of the city, property owners, planners and the metro itself have collectively transformed the area into one of the places to go to in the “Big Smoke”.

It is clearly a very wholesome example of what can be achieved by collaborative improvement programmes for an urban area.

Margate for example has been getting a bit of stick lately and my belief is that the combination of the local authority progressing with its urban renewal programme, property owners being creative and investing in the presentation of their assets and new and forward thinking tenants­ taking up strategic space in Margate’s main activity precinct­ can really transform the area.

If this can be achieved I believe that like Maboneng, not only would tourists be drawn more and more to the area but all our own residents would utilise the precinct for socialising and their leisure time.

Furthermore when events take place at the main beachfront promenade, the whole area would become superbly vibrant.

It took commitment from both the private and public sector to provide resources to the inner city dream for Maboneng.

With collective foresight and buy-in by stakeholders here there is no reason why the jewel in our tourism crown cannot radiate with increasing intensity.

We certainly will be encouraging a process to put more magic into Margate and in so doing a very positive transformation could well emerge. It can be done.

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