In her State of the Municipality Address Executive delivered in Jeffreys Bay this week, Mayor Elza van Lingen said the municipality’s new Town Planning Department would be the “driving force behind local economic development”.
“One of the great tragedies of the previous administration was that they failed to recognise how important a role the Town Planning Department of a municipality plays in facilitating growth.
“Every plan and application that is approved, is money being injected into the region and jobs being created.
The total value of building plans approved in the previous quarter alone was more than R212-million,” she said.
“The Town Planning Department is also often an entry point for potential investors, which makes it all the more important for this section to create a good first impression.”
She said the department had been allowed to fall to pieces under the previous administration.
“Critical posts were left vacant, leading to delays in processing applications and lost development opportunity.
“To make matters worse, the department was then moved from the municipal headquarters in Jeffreys Bay to an unmarked residential house in Humansdorp, without sufficient office or filing space.”
She said several key positions in the department have now been filled, including the appointment of Kobus Marais as the new manager.
“We are also in the process of moving the Town Planning offices to the old Sassa building in Woltemade Street, Jeffreys Bay, which will allow for a more efficient and professional service.”