The building of Fountains Mall was always going to have an impact on the Jeffreys Bay CBD, be it positive or negative. From what has been observed by the movement of businesses out of CBD’s towards the suburbs in the cities of South Africa, there is genuine concern that the “old Jeffreys Bay will become a slum.
Main Street (now Govan Mbeki Avenue) in Port Elizabeth is a prime example of inner city change. Once the banks moved their head offices to Greenacres, excess office space became available and soon after the slum lords moved in. The historic suburb of Central has suffered as a result and is no longer safe for law abiding citizens.
In Durban, the Golden Mile along the beach front became an area that was taken over at night by prostitutes and drug dealers and it is only in the past few years that things have been cleaned up. The heavy Police presence and security that work with the lifeguards on the beaches have played a huge role in bringing crime under control along the Durban beach front.
There is a train of thought that the Main Beach will be the saving grace of the old Jeffreys Bay CBD, as the banks and other businesses move up to Fountains Mall. It cannot be doubted that Main Beach is the prime tourist attraction for Jeffreys Bay, with tens of thousands of holidaymakers descending upon the beach each December.
Yet, unless the sewage problem on Main Beach gets sorted out and the the petty crime that takes place on a regular basis gets stamped out, Main Beach may not be in a position to save the CBD. Indeed Main Beach may be in need of being saved itself.
Goedehoop Street in the centre of town is fast gaining a reputation of being a no go zone. Reports have been received of incidences occurring at the ATM machines in the street and there are regular loiterers hanging around.
Despite these problems, one of the most amazing streets in Jeffreys Bay can be found just one block away from all the problems. There are no car guards here, no loiterers, people feel safe walking the street and visiting the many interesting shops in the road.
Oosterland Street used to have a view overlooking Main Beach when the Riley family first lived there in the corner house. The view is long gone but the street has developed into a blend of coffee shops, art exhibitions,live entertainment with lawyers and accountants all having offices in the road.
Potters Place lead the way with creating a “vibe” in Oosterland Street and the coffee shop Kolwynkie followed suit. Potters is the main live music venue in Jeffreys Bay and has lead to there being a certain style in the street. Any visit to Jeffreys Bay would now be incomplete without a visit to Oosterland Street and a stroll down the road is in order before a coffee or drink and a meal is enjoyed.
No matter what happens to the Jeffreys Bay CBD, one thing is for sure……the most funky street in town will still be an attraction for locals and visitors alike.