Editorial | Make your voice heard on Bayworld
Bayworld – once Nelson Mandela Bay’s foremost beachfront attraction – has long come to represent just a forlorn and disheartening reminder of what it once was.
Although its staff try their best to ensure that, in addition to the important care and rehabilitation of marine creatures, it still offers some educational and recreational value, the complex resembles nothing of the vibrant attraction of its heyday.
Its fate has been the subject of much debate and halfhearted attempts at rejuvenation and plans of reimagining what is a prime venue. But now, at last, the Mandela Bay Development Agency – which has done so much rehabilitation of decaying infrastructure elsewhere in the city – in conjunction with the provincial government is presenting a framework for a multifaceted resurrection job.
It has the potential to restore and reinvent the centre with numerous appealing features and concepts.
Not only that, the initiative seeks to incorporate a number of other nearby sites which are not realising their full potential.
A dome theatre with planetarium technology, a water world, school laboratories and an eco-boutique hotel are just some of the innovative ideas which are being proposed for the redevelopment that also extends to a larger part of the Happy Valley precinct.
A formal business plan – and all-importantly, details of where the money will be coming from – will be drafted by June.
It is encouraging that the co-operative agreement between the province and the municipality three years ago which gave the city the task to look at the renovation of Bayworld – with the MBDA delegated to the job – is now bearing fruit.
But it is also crucial that residents get involved in the public engagement sessions taking place this week and make their voices heard, which can only add impetus to a venture that must not be allowed to falter.
This is a plan for a striking drawcard that can work.