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Monday Feb 10, 2014

R472m boost for fast-growing Plett

The Western Cape government will invest more than R470 million in Plettenberg Bay over the next three years.

The popular coastal holiday town has become the third fastest growing area in the country when it comes to population growth - a trend which has put crippling pressure on the town's infrastructure.

The investment, which will include 30 projects ranging from clinics and schools to street lights and sewerage systems, promises welcome relief for residents and the embattled Bitou Municipality.

Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde confirmed this week that the government would invest R472m in the Bitou area from April this year.
His spokeswoman, Bronwynne Jooste, said various projects had already been identified, including libraries and taxi routes, and would fall under a number of government departments.

'The Transport and Public Works Department will be responsible for 13 projects, the Health Department five, Local Government eight, Cultural Affairs three and Water Affairs one,' Jooste said.

Bitou municipal spokesman James Sijama said the injection could not have come at a better time. 'It is well known that Plettenberg Bay is the fastest growing town in the province, and this puts a lot of pressure on our infrastructure like roads, electricity supply and water resources,' he said, adding that a portion of the investment would also go towards building two new schools in Kranshoek and Kwanokuthula during the next financial year.

'These are desperately needed in order for the town to continue providing good quality education.'

Sijama said a new pump station, electricity upgrades, additional sub- stations and road upgrades were also on the cards. 'This financial injection will also be used to offset most of the challenges the town is facing and to make Plettenberg Bay a truly better town for all.'

The spin-offs would also lead to more investment from the private sector, so creating more jobs and business opportunities for local entrepreneurs, he added.
Plettenberg Bay Business Chamber chairman and local businessman Barries Ferreira agreed that the investment would boost employment.

'Any job creation, upliftment and development, if it is sustainable, is welcome in Plettenberg Bay,' Ferreira said.

'The town is the third fastest growing place in the country, which places pressure on our infrastructure. Not only will this help alleviate the pressure, but the spin-offs will help boost the economy. We just hope the contracts go to local businesses and that our local labour force is used.'

Garden Route Media


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