[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Warwick Junction mall crit
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sat May 23 14:37:54 BST 2009
May 22, 2009 Edition 1
Does Durban really need another shopping mall at Warwick Junction? And
how will this project affect the lives of hundreds of informal traders
operating in this hive of activity?
These are the questions faced by the city in its difficult quest to
reorganise and clean up the planning mess left by years of apartheid
neglect. Now one of the country's biggest commuter hubs, the Warwick
Triangle, was developed in years gone past, in part, to keep black
commuters out of the CBD. Today commuter and trading patterns have
become so intertwined and entrenched that any effort to upgrade
infrastructure is bound to help some and to hurt others - to displace
traders and hit revenues.
Unhappiness over the present road, rank and trading upgrades was
abundantly clear in a debate hosted by the Democracy Development
Programme at the Durban University of Technology's city campus this
week. Matters became so heated that some of the 600 informal traders and
others ended up singing and chanting in protest.
Their most potent criticism of the plan was that traders were not
properly consulted about a development they say could ruin their
livelihood. They fear the new 30 000-square-metre mall is designed to
redirect foot traffic away from their stalls and that it will leave them
with no space to trade.
The city needs to address numerous issues and questions to allay the
suspicions of those affected by the changes. One primary concern must be
to explain how the tender process was handled - and whether this was
done in a sufficiently open and even-handed manner.
In the end, the planned developments will no doubt create an
organisation and structure that will most likely to improve the area and
enhance business in the long term, and this will be for the benefit of
commuters and consumers. However, in the short term, there are many
concerns that need to be handled sensibly and sensitively.
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