OVER the last 50 years residents of the Northern Areas have portrayed Helenvale as an eyesore in the Northern Areas, but thanks to a R140-million cash injection this will soon be a thing of the past.
The funds for the Helenvale Urban Renewal Programme (HERP) are from the European Union and a German body which prefers to remain anonymous.
Construction has started on Fishcat Street, Kobus Road, Hartbees Street, Blesbok Street, the Thusong Centre, parks, an Early Childhood Development Centre, and transfer station along Stanford Road.
Ward 13 councillor, Nico du Plessis expressed his joy and said he hoped the change would spark a change in the mind-set of residents.
“I believe that through upgrading there will be an improvement in residents’ attitudes towards the area. We will do what is necessary to implement change,” said Du Plessis.
The largest amount of the funds has been set aside for the Thusong Centre which will include halls, boardrooms, offices, a basketball court and a recreation centre.
“Working together with the construction companies Pro-Khaya construction, Alex maintenance and electrical, Khuselindalo construction, Omega Civils, Wayton Civils, Nomaxhosa construction, Midnight Star contracts, National Housing board rectification and NAPDI on the project, we have managed to create close to 600 jobs for locals,” he said.
All construction is scheduled to be completed by April next year. However development will not stop there. The German body is also discussing the possibility of launching a safety project in the area to the tune of R57-million.