Members of the Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB) have caused a stir in the Buffalo City Metro council after proposing the authority charge an entrance fee to Ebuhlanti.
The chamber suggested that the council upgrade the popular braai and party spot, also known as Marina Glen, with a “management structure” to administer the entrance fee.
The idea was revealed in a 33-page report submitted to the metro by the organisation of 700 members as part of BKCOB’s development needs and priorities.
Members include state-owned enterprises such East London Industrial Development Zone, Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), Eskom, Telkom, Transnet and Industrial Development Corporation.
The report was tabled in council last month as an external stakeholders’ development needs report for the metro’s Integrated Development Plan 2016 to 2021.
The chamber said it would like to emphasise the importance of the sleeper site development in terms of facilitating the release of land, allocation of professional fees and capital budget as part of the central East (IDP) for the period London urban renewal.
In dealing with Ebuhlanti, the chamber said the area was a widely used recreational facility.
The chamber said that a management structure should be put in place “that could charge a minimum entrance fee, operate a kiosk, braaing facilities and is responsible for cleaning and security”.
However, BCM mayor Xola Pakati said the request for an Ebuhlanti management structure was problematic as access to the area would be restricted. “Their [the chamber’s] report is part of our broader consultation process and is part of our five-year IDPs,” Pakati said.
“It is a problem for us if you want to have management in that park. That will mean there will be costs involved and the poor won’t have access to the facility.
“We do agree with the chamber that the place should be upgraded and we will do all of that and renovate the park.”
DA councillor Jan Smit said the party supported the chamber’s proposal.