As Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality’s (BCMM) 2015/6 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is under review, and planning for the next five year 2016-2021, comes in place, the Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB), through its Infrastructure Committee has endeavored to ensure the vital infrastructure development priorities of the business community come into effect in the next five years.
The IDP is essentially BCMM’s comprehensive road map for all future planned city-wide growth and details development in waste management; electrical upgrades; sports amenities; housing; township regeneration and bulk infrastructure development – to name a few. Hence it is important that the city know the development needs and priorities of business. It also creates an opportunity not only to engage but to assist and collaborate with BCMM.
While there are many points the Chamber submitted in its submission to the city, six have been identified is key:
1. Developing Buffalo City as a Destination: This will be done through the upgrading of the city’s infrastructure, cleaning of the city and investment attraction
2. Municipal transformation and organisational development
4. Proper planning to ensure budget expenditure
5. Elevate environmental sustainability:
“The Chamber finds that Environmental Sustainability is of key importance for the future of Buffalo City and suggests that environmental sustainability should be elevated in the Metros organogram.” BKCOB IDP Submission
Alan Carter of EOH Environmental Services was most vocal about the city’s lack of impetus toward climate change, “Currently, environmental management is relegated to a minor status in the current BCMM organogram and often seen as a hand-break to development. In addition to facilitating BCMM compliance with environmental regulations (often unfairly blamed for service delivery delays) an elevated and well capacitated Environmental Sustainability Department should also facilitate effective responses to climate change and the protection and maintenance of the Metro’s environmental assets.” On a positive note, Alan added “It would also contribute to identifying funding and partnerships for renewable energy, waste to energy and eco-tourism”.
6. Institutionalisation of joint collaboration mechanisms
Les Holbrook, BKCOB Executive Director promoted collaborative mechanisms with the city so as to fill the city’s gaps in capacity. “As business leaders we have and must take advantage of this unique opportunity to draft and map our own economic destiny. We can no longer simply allow this to be done for us – we must do it ourselves. Chamber is committed, and urges members to give input and be involved, particularly in the crucial areas of Planning and Infrastructure development.”
The current way forward is to follow the IDP review process until the document is accept by Council to ensure that organised businesses goals and objectives form part of the city’s future planning.
The Chamber’s input document can also be found HERE