“One cannot overstress the importance of maintaining and improving infrastructure: it is critical to the efficient running of any town or area.” So said Knysna Municipal Manager Dr Sitembele Vatala. “While well-maintained infrastructure allows for many benefits and opportunities, it also allows us as a municipality to fulfil our mandate of providing exceptional services to our residents. This is the reasoning behind the capital projects scheduled to take place during the 2019/2020 financial year.”
Explained in layman’s terms, a capital project is current any new project that helps to maintain or improve infrastructure. It may be a new construction, expansion, renovation or even replacement project for existing facilities. These projects are funded from the Municipality’s own internal funding or Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), a conditional grant from the national government for improving municipal infrastructure.
“The projects for this year are mainly centred around water- and roads infrastructure,” said Vatala. “Some projects are ward specific, while others will affect all wards. Implementation of these projects will cost north of R117,2 million and have a positive impact on all residents and visitors.”
The rollout of the water management device system is already underway. Other water related projects that are currently at tender stage include the upgrade to the central business district water reticulation system, bulk water supply to the north-eastern areas, the Hornlee water infill scheme and upgrades to the Hornlee water reticulation system, as well as upgrades to the pumping scheme at the Charlesford dam.
The stormwater infrastructure of various wards will be upgraded. In terms of sewerage purification services, the Knysna wastewater treatment works will be upgraded, as will the Bosdorp (Karatara) sewer reticulation system. Other projects include the Hornlee infill scheme sewer pump station and the refurbishment of the Eastford pumps.
“We are also paying particular attention to our roads network this year,” Vatala continued. “We have identified specific roads-related capital projects over and above our Roads Maintenance Programme for 2019/2020.”
These include constructing and maintaining sidewalks and pavements in all wards, and road rehabilitation, the surfacing of gravel roads, new guardrails and taxi laybys in various wards. We will finalise the design plans and investigations into George Rex Drive this year, the Swarvlei Mouth parking area will be stabilised and the erosion at Brenton-on-lake will be addressed. The much-publicised upgrade to Grey Street also falls under the capital projects banner.
“Providing basic services of consistently high standards remains our top priority,” said Vatala. “We can only do that if we have a sound base to work from – if our infrastructure allows us to do so. This means that capital projects like these play an integral part in our efforts to provide residents and visitors with the services they expect and deserve. The implementation of some of these projects might cause slight inconvenience at times. I ask you to be patient, and to remember that it is all for the greater good of Greater Knysna.”