Security is the sharpest concern among the few residents of ward 46 who attended a public participation meeting held to discuss the development of Water World in the area.
The meeting, held at the Robbie De Lange hall, was hosted by the Buffalo City Metro Development Agency and Mda Consortium on Tuesday evening.
Resident Vuyiseka Mpinda, among the seven community members present, said although the development idea was long overdue, Water World had become a hub of criminals.
“I can’t foresee any stumbling blocks for the project because it is a great initiative that will create jobs in the community and offer recreational activities for the entire metro. However, measures need to be taken to ensure safety, which is a big problem in the area,” she said.
Leading consultant and architect Pat Dalgleish said the development comprised exciting attractions including additional pools, new water slides and a skateboard park.
“We want to make the venue a popular place for people to frequent, with nice braai facilities and a labyrinth, which will be a first in East London.
“The development will come with a massive security upgrade, including fencing and physical security patrols to curb the crime,” he said.
Adding to Dalgleish’s input, BCMDA infrastructure development project manager Gcina Yawathe said the influx of people and activities taking place would reduce the presence of criminals.
“We aim on making the area come alive with activities and crafters exhibiting their items, which will cause a hype around the Water World and bring in lots of human traffic. However, security will be on site all day, and perimeter fencing will be fully rehabilitated,” he said.
Resident Lunga Marula urged ward 46 councillor Nceba Kilimani to mobilise the unemployed youth in the community for job opportunities.
“There are not enough entertainment spots in East London. Hopefully this will reduce the congestion at Ebuhlanti, where people always go because they do not have variety. Through this project we want the people of this community to be skilled and gain work, because this is happening in their vicinity,” he said.
While no concerns were raised over the environment, Terreco environmentalist Ayanda Mpambana said there were some possible sensitive areas which could be impacted environmentally and which required specialists’ attention.
“The area is close to the ocean and the 100-metre high-water mark, and is also close to an estuary and sand dunes, which are likely to be disturbed and require specialist studies.
“This includes the watercourse and riparian vegetation and the nearby nature reserve and surrounding drainage systems,” she said.
The project falls under the same R25-million funding allocated for the Esplanade development reported on in yesterday’s Dispatch, and will be carried out by the same contractors within the same period of time. Construction should begin early next year. — firstname.lastname@example.org