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More delays for Waterfront development unacceptable

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber welcomes the waterfront development plans - tabled at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s economic development, tourism and agriculture portfolio committee last week (25 October) – in particular the marina element of the development to include retail and leisure activities for the Port of Port Elizabeth.

We agree that the Port of Port Elizabeth needs to remain a working port and welcome the marina/commercial character of the Transnet plans that were unveiled this week to include hospitality, leisure, commercial, retail and residential aspects.

Unlocking this piece of land has been an urgent appeal championed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and other role players through extensive lobbying for some time, and we welcome the transparency with which Transnet has communicated its waterfront plans with the committee.

However, we are extremely disappointed that the 2019 deadline for removing the manganese storage facility has been pushed back by yet another year, said Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber President Ian Nicholls.

“Our big problem is speed. Yes, these things take time, but the PE Waterfront chapter simply takes too much time. The slippages are unacceptable because it holds back the development of our entire beachfront, and our region’s economy,” Nicholls said.

Initial timelines given for the operations to be completed were 2014, which later shifted to 2016/17, then 2019 and following this week’s committee meeting we have confirmation that it is pushed back to 2020.

The storage facilities in its totality are a hindrance to not only unlocking the development of the waterfront’s tourism potential, but also the oceans economy potential of the region, Nicholls said.

The Business Chamber urges Transnet to expedite the move and to remain committed to the undertaking that the future use of the Port of Port Elizabeth land will be for the purposes of a waterfront/marina development.