Drive for special rates in Central on track

‘Encouraging developments’ as deadline to win property owners’ consent extended

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Efforts to establish a special property rates regime in Port Elizabeth’s Central suburb are at an advanced stage, with the deadline to win the consent of a majority of property owners extended by a month.
Property owners, businesses and the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) are among the drivers of the proposal which could see the suburb recognised as a municipally endorsed Special Rates Area (SRA), bringing with it improved safety and security and basic services delivery, among other benefits.
The period set aside to win the stakeholder consent closed at the end of March, but was extended after interest in the initiative continued to grow.
If successful, Central, after neighbouring Richmond Hill, will be the second Bay suburb to be declared an SRA, also known as a city improvement district.
National Glass business manager Kenrick Brown, interim chair of the proposed Central SRA, said there was a surge of positive interest in the project during the deadline period.
This meant that, while the proposal had not yet achieved the full number of consents required for it to be legitimately implemented, the latest developments had advanced the project significantly.
“In addition we have been talking to a property owner who holds a very significant portfolio of buildings in Central,” Brown said.
“We had very encouraging engagements and are optimistic the owner will give his support for the SRA.
“This would be an important boost for the proposal as we would then be left with just 25 more consents to secure.
“We are satisfied with the progress of this and urge property owners to support the proposal.
“There are important benefits to establishing an SRA here in Central and they will all contribute to securing, maintaining and improving the suburb for everyone who works or lives there.”
Numerous important sites around the Bay, including many heritage attractions in Central, are at risk as a result of the cancellation of an extensive security contract by the Bay administration in 2018.
Brown agreed the strong security element an SRA would deliver would enhance security for both tourists and residents.
MBDA spokesperson Luvuyo Bangazi confirmed the original consent deadline was self-imposed by the committee driving the initiative and said that, from a municipal point of view, there was no deadline for any campaign to establish an SRA in the city.
He said there were encouraging developments with the drive to establish the SRA and that the project was on track to meet its objectives.
If implemented, Central could benefit from improved waste management, improved access to the administration as a result of having a collective property owners’ voice and dedicated security.
Future implementation of technologies such as security cameras, and general improvements to infrastructure, were also hoped for.
The wider benefits could include improved and safer living, working and trading conditions, and an increase in property values...

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