Gooood morning Great Brak! A hearty wakeup call to all, in the vein of “Good Morning Vietnam”, the 1987 Hollywood movie about the Vietnam DJ Adrian Cronauer. I am sure you all know the Robin Williams cry, in our case it might be a late sad cry of should’ a, would’ a, could’ a!
The long awaited rehabilitation of Long Street & Stasieweg, Great Brak River (GBR) is upon us. The sad story is that there has been little or no input from affected business and land owners along the length of the road.
Information received from the Mosselbay Municipality indicates that the planned work is to include the road surface and sidewalks of Long Street and Stasieweg/Station Road. Mossel Bay Municipality’s (MBM) Streets and Stormwater Department is awaiting the final design approval from the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) Department of Transport and Public Works. It is hoped that by July 2019, WCG will approve the final design and construction project for tender. After the tender process it should be awarded in October 2019 with the estimated start of the construction process in January 2020.
What should concern all local businesses is the fact that because work is limited to rehabilitation activities within the existing road reserve, no formal Environmental Impact Assessment is required and therefore no Public Participation Process is required. Rowena Hendricks, the MBM’s Marketing and Communications Manager has indicated that “As per any construction project, prior notice will be given of works about to commence”. Rowena added, “Construction activities are bound to tender clauses, General Conditions of Construction as well as an approved Contractor programme”.
MBM is the Road Authority (funding20%), whilst the WCG is the Controlling/Governing Authority (funding 80%). The estimated project value is at around R40 million, VAT included, and subject to a competitive, open bidding process.
The rehabilitation will be done in half-widths with one-way, “stop-and-go” traffic control in place to regulate traffic and access to properties and business. Where possible and practical, local unskilled labour will be used via the MBM shake-shake system, drawn from surrounding residential areas.
As things stand at the moment the town is getting a rehabilitated road with a new asphalt surface overlay, giving improved drivability and added capacity for storm water drainage. If possible and only where necessary sidewalks will be added, existing gravel shoulders will be formalised to aid in additional parking. A glaring omission in the information offered thus far is the actual planned design of the road, the sidewalks and parking. We are told the project is currently still under review with the WCG. Design details of the actual proposed works only become available when the project has been approved by WCG around June month.
Jack van der Lecq a local architect feels, “from an urban planning point of view it is evident that there is no master plan – the treatment of road edges, parking facilities, sign posting, tree planting, street furniture, etc., has either ‘happened’ in a haphazard and uncoordinated fashion or is completely lacking. There is much room for improvement and the intention is to closely liaise with both the local and government authorities when dealing with the issues in order to enhance the overall appearance of our town and add to its inherent beauty as a quality destination.“
Having spoken with the office of MBM Municipal Manager, they are willing, at this late stage, to meet with concerned people and businesses. This proposed 12 month project is going to have a huge impact on the town as a whole, but specifically the businesses along Long Street & Stasieweg. The MBM has agreed to schedule an open day for the Public to view the planned rehabilitation design, this could happen shortly after approval has been obtained by WCG DTPW. To actively participate or to obtain more information contact Wilhelm de Wet, responsible for the Business Portfolio at the Great Brak Ratepayers Association on 044 0040098.