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Mayor’s Newsletter for George Herald of 9 November 2023

Early on Sunday 5 November, the Go George bus service into Thembalethu was launched with the first bus departing along Nelson Mandela Boulevard at 05h20 on the route through the industrial area to Blanco.

It has taken many years of negotiation to reach this momentous occasion that will now provide residents of Thembalethu with the opportunity to take bus trips according to a scheduled timetable. After the rolling out of the first route, additional routes will follow to provide easy access to destinations such as the provincial hospital, the CBD and the Garden Route Mall. Passenger usage will increase as passengers become familiar with travelling by bus to their destinations. It is expected that Thembalethu commuters will increase the number of Go George passengers by at least 60%. Throughout the world, public transport provides citizens with the access and mobility to commute to work and for other activities thereby reducing traffic congestion. George citizens can now join in this experience.

One of the major challenges for municipalities continues to be the management of data. This requires transitioning from the current methodologies to smart city systems and technology. We are progressively tackling data analysis through the introduction of the necessary technology so that we can better understand, interpret and manage the data. As each of the projects are embarked upon, there are technical and learning hurdles to be overcome. One such project is the utilisation of geographic information systems whereby the technology enables users to identify the land uses and services applicable to all the land within the municipal area.

We have recently celebrated the unveiling of the Leentjiesklip statue that resulted from an initiative of the Wilderness community who identified that touristic value could be added through the legend of how Leentjiesklip beach was named. This project came to fruition as a result of the Adopt-a-Spot Policy that has been approved by Council to enable communities to take responsibility for specific sites. Through this policy, community groups can make an application to the Municipality to be granted permission to beautify and protect portions of municipal land that may otherwise not be cared for regularly. An example would be the planting and care of gardens on spots where illegal dumping could occur.

We have recently received requests from sporting bodies and the Planet Youth project seeking support and assistance in various forms. These requests provide opportunities for the corporate sector to fulfil social responsibility commitments through small projects whereby they can assist with training, the provision of sporting wear or activity programmes for the youth who may not have access to the necessary funding. Interested parties are welcome to contact me to discuss such opportunities on the email address.