R4m Sea Vista library now all ‘good to read’

A little less than two years and more than R4m later, the eagerly awaited custom-built library for the impoverished Sea Vista community has finally been opened last week.Energy minister Jeff Radebe cut the ribbon at the grandw opening – about 18 months after breaking ground – and praised the renewable energy sector’s contribution to socioeconomic development in the region.Radebe was invited as a guest of the Kouga Wind Farm, which has been the driving force behind the construct of the state-of-the-art facility, as well as the Kouga Municipality, which made the land available and will manage the library as part of its community services portfolio.The facility was built by the Kouga Wind Farm as part of its socio-economic development (SED) programme aimed at uplifting the surrounding communities through a basket of promises made to local residents upon the wind farm’s establishment in 2015.Radebe said the current challenges faced by Eskom “would have been worse” were it not for the contribution from independent power producers, such as Kouga Wind Farm.He said he was determined to push the growth of the renewable energy sector to not only increase energy generation, but to also develop the communities where these projects are based.Kouga Wind Farm’s community liaison officerTrevor Arosi previously said the opening was eagerly awaited as the community is very isolated, with little to no community facilities for residents, particularly pupils.“The only schools are in Humansdorp, with pupils being transported back and forth,” Arosi said.“The problem is that with scholar transport, pupils leave class and get straight on the bus back to their areas where they have no access to books or the internet.”He said a library provided pupils with material they needed, as well as a sanctuary to study, which most of them did not have at home.Radebe urged the Sea Vista community to take ownership of the library as a community asset which would help to break the cycle of poverty.“Education is the future for our children and a library is the fountain of knowledge in a community.“Treasure it and be its protectors because our children will depend on it to improve themselves,” said Radebe.Arosi said the three-year project had created 96 jobs during construction, injecting direct wages of R1.4m into Sea Vista and a further R1.3m was spent on the local procurement of materials.He said St Francis Bay residents and the local Rotary Club had embraced the initiative, collecting more than 6,500 books for the under-resourced community.The library has a fully equipped computer room and is also wheelchair-friendly and offers a South African Library for the Blind section.Lungiso High School grade 10 pupil Matshediso Moremoholo, who previously had to travel 25km to the nearest library in Humansdorp, said the facility would be life-changing.The wind farm’s SED programme’s flagship project saw the rebuilding of Nkqubela Creche in 2016 in KwaNomzamo, near Humansdorp, at a cost of R2.2m, after it was burnt to the ground.

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