Editorial | Preservation of city’s rich heritage is vital


Those charged with the maintenance and safeguarding of Port Elizabeth’s more historic tourist features really need to take a walk. And have a good hard look at them.
There are precious few attractions for visitors to the city to enjoy and yet the administration is allowing even those existing venues to deteriorate due to neglect and, in some cases, they actually pose a safety risk because of a lack of security.
hat is, if they’re not closed off already. Heritage sites in Central, in particular, which once drew domestic and foreign tourists because of their history and architecture are these days being viewed by tour operators as no-go zones due to either crime or because they’re in such a shabby and run-down state.
The withdrawal of security guards in several areas has also exposed people to the constant concern about muggings or possibly worse.
And then you have the Red Location Museum which, as Weekend Post reported at the weekend, was once the pride of liberation struggle history, but where precious artefacts now lie in ruins after years of vandalism and looting.
In that instance, a frustrated community’s long-standing housing problems in nearby streets must first be resolved before any restoration work on the museum begins, but it is an example of what has been allowed to happen to this building’s treasures due to simple disregard, no matter what the outside reasons for the shutdown.
It has fallen on private business owners in the hospitality industry to take up the cudgel themselves as in the case of a guesthouse in the vicinity of Fort Frederick.
It organises security personnel to ensure that visitors can enjoy this landmark and its unparallelled views of the city without the shadow of unsavoury elements and activities in and around the fort.
With the municipality’s decision to take over the tourism marketing function itself, a full evaluation of all these historical city features needs to be undertaken so there is no further degradation, and a renovation and security plan must be developed...

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