R4bn waterfront plan for Port Elizabeth on cards

19 November 2014

A major Chinese engineering firm is interested in investing about R4bn in a waterfront-type development in Port Elizabeth.

A delegation from China Harbour Engineering Company held a meeting with Nelson Mandela Bay metro officials on Tuesday, 11 November, to express interest in the project and gauge how to cut the red tape involved, municipal chief financial officer Trevor Harper said.

It was the second meeting on the plan after the metro has previously looked to Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront as a potential model.

The project would encompass the area beginning at the Port Elizabeth Harbour entrance but excluding the ore berths and oil tank farm.

“Planning processes were, for example, fast-tracked for the Boardwalk’s recent work,” Harper said.

“But I want to place on record that the land is not being sold or given away.

“The Chinese consortium has expressed interest and put forward R4-billion as the amount that could go into the venture.”

Harper said the Baakens Valley precinct harbour development was one of four mooted projects in the Bay with potential to create jobs.

The other projects are Telkom Park’s refurbishment, the Nelson Mandela statue, and the Project Mthombo oil refinery.

Port manager Rajesh Dana said there was an immense appetite for the harbour development and land had been earmarked for it.

“We are in the final stages of concluding a commercial agreement with a service provider which will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study,” he said.

“Transnet is responsible for the management and development of land within the ports and, in planning this development, has been working closely with the Mandela Bay Development Agency [MBDA] and the municipality to ensure the integrated planning and development of a leisure and recreation node within the city.”

BY: XOLISA PHILLIP | 17 NOV 2014 17:47

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