Grey Dam revenue generating plans risky
I read with some horror in the GRA Newsletter that Makana Municipality is planning to go into business and spend our money developing Grey Dam “into a revenue generating self-sustainable tourist and recreational facility.” (Quote from the Inception Report of Ilizwe Town and Regional Planners cc who have been requested by the Municipality to produce a “Feasibility Study and Business Plan” on this proposed project.) Let me make it clear at the outset that we did not elect these councillors to go into risk taking revenue generating business projects.
We elected them to fix the potholes in our streets, to fix the ever leaking water mains, to pay Eskom the money which they collect on Eskom’s behalf from us, to keep the streets clear of litter and animal manure, to keep gutters, storm water drains and the Kowie Ditches free of blockages, to mow and trim the edges of lawns on verges and many other such matters which are of public importance.
This is not the first time Makana has contemplated the idea of going into supposed revenue generating exploits. Do you remember the following disasters, all within the last 10 to 15 years?
The Goat Farms. Seventeen farms in an arc between where the Fort Beaufort Road meets the N2 and Riebeeck East were earmarked for purchase or hire by Makana to produce goat’s milk cheese. The goats had to be imported from Switzerland and they all died.
The Ostrich Farm. A farm with ostriches was bought and day-old ostrich chicks would be sold to surrounding ostrich farmers. The ostriches had to be injected against ‘bird flu’ with large syringes and the workers refused to do this. End of the enterprise.
The Municipal Carwash. One of these modern tunnel car wash buildings was erected at the bottom end of Raglan Road (renamed ‘Dr JG Zuma Drive’ by Makana Municipality). Almost nobody used it. Motorists preferred to pay the ‘car wash men’ with their buckets, sponges and cloths in the car park. Cheaper and helpful to the poor and needy.
The Kaolin Mine. Euphemism for a clay pit. Makana’s first and only appointment in this enterprise was the Mine Manager. Unfortunately he found when he called a meeting of all potential stakeholders and interested persons that the only people who came were the poor and unemployed who desperately needed jobs. Project abandoned.
The Makana Resort. Formerly a very popular caravan park and camping site with a few bungalows and chalets patronised by mainly lower income holiday makers and motorists seeking an affordable overnight stop. But now it has all gone posh and expensive and I doubt whether its returns justify the capital spent.
Now Makana is at it again. Grahamstown people will have to PAY to go for a walk or have a picnic at Grey Dam. What next?