Massive boost for Walmer

Bobbi Sands

RESIDENTS of Walmer Township will soon be able to enjoy a community library, computer room, music facilities, an indoor sporting facility and an advice and skills development hub – all thanks to an investment of R30-million in the area.
Construction on the R16-million youth centre in Fountain Street began last month and is set for completion in December next year. It’s aim is to curb drug and alcohol abuse in the area, which is a growing concern.
Next door, renovations totaling R12-million to the advice centre, are scheduled for completion next October.
Other developments in Fountain Road include the construction of a community park south of the advice centre and sidewalks and pedestrian crossings to improve the safety of pedestrians.
 To top it off, a private low-cost housing development is going up on the corner of Heugh Road and Victoria Drive.
The total value of the 15-hectare development is R200-million, funded by private development company The Home Market.
Executive director Lance Del Monte said the development was aimed at “stable income earners who do not qualify for RDP housing”.
“It will comprise 432 two- and three-bedroom houses for sale and 347 apartments – either studio, one bedroom or two-bedroom – for rent.
“The first phase of the rental component is set for completion in March next year with the entire development due to be complete by December next year.”
ANC Ward 4 councillor Nomajama Benya said she hoped the new centres would engage the youth of the township and bring service delivery closer.
“Our youth have no place to go after school and on weekends and hopefully this will be a place where they can spend time together engaging in meaningful activities.”
She said there was a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment and crime in the township. The lack of skills among the youth and the lack of recreational facilities have been identified as being the root causes.
“With these centres, we want to take our youth away from bad influences. We need the youth to keep busy with positive activities and to stay away from self-destructive habits.”
Benya said plenty of activities were in the pipeline for the youth centre.
One important attraction would be a library and a place where schoolchildren could go to have a quiet and safe place to do homework.
“The library will be for the whole community but we must focus on giving the youth a good education, and giving them a peaceful place where they can study and do homework,” said Benya.
Heading up the homework club and various activities will be the Masifunde Learner Development organisation.
Masifunde has been a driving force in Walmer Township with homework clubs, Learn for Life extra-curricular educational programmes and other initiatives.
Masifunde co-director Lubabalo Valisa said he was excited about the project and they were looking forward to having more space to help pupils in the township.
“In addition to our current programmes we are hoping to have other extra-curricular activities for the children as well as a computer room and music facilities.
Masifunde will also run the library at the centre.
Gqebera Youth Development Forum leader Mthuthuzeli Hombile said the youth were excited about the development.
“The youth of Gqebera have been drowning themselves in shebeens, involved in crime and drugs because of unemployment and lack of facilities. This development will go a long way toward improving the skills development of youth in the area and also unearthing a wealth of talent we have hidden here in this township.”
Benya said the Advice Centre would also bring service delivery closer to members of the township.
“Bringing representatives from Home Affairs and Sassa closer to the community is very important.
“We can also look at counselling for residents who have drug or alcohol problems or even for younger people needing the service.”
Municipal spokesman Ongma Mtimka said the two projects formed part of the R52-million Fountain Road upgrade funded by the National Treasury through its Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant.
“The project has been identified by the municipality as a focused urban renewal project, aimed at rejuvenating socio-economic activities in various townships in the city.
“Other projects forming part of the Fountain Road development include paving, township greening and a community park which was launched by the municipality last year.”

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