Concordia shopping centre stalled
Developers of the R40-million Concordia shopping centre confirmed receipt of an email from the municipality this week in which they requested a meeting between themselves and the developers.
“We are yet to schedule a date. It’s difficult to say what will happen, as we are yet to make a decision on whether or not we will go ahead with the project,” said Variflex CEO Ian Raubenheimer this week.
Knysna Municipality approved the development of the centre subject to a service agreement that does not sit well with the developer.
The municipality has refused to waive the development charges (augmentation fee) for bulk services or the first three years’ rates and taxes as promised by the previous administration. As a compromise, Knysna council said they would allow the development charges to be paid in instalments over 24 months and agreed to rebates on rates and services over the first three years: 100% rebate in year one, 75% in year two and 50% in the third. After this full rates would be payable.
The matter has been dragging on for years following agreements with the previous administration at the municipality, who at the time approved no augmentation fees and “free” services for a period of three years.
But municipality CFO Mbulelo Memani made it clear that the agreement with the previous administration is invalid. “The municipal manager at the time (Grant Easton) had no authority to make such agreements. Only council can decide, and in any case, it is this municipality’s policy to request augmentation fees and charge rates for services,” he said.
The meeting is expected to take place within the next two weeks, after which the developers will make a final decision.