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Mayor’s Letter 15 for 26 August 2021

Mayoral newsletter for George Herald: 23/08/21 for Thursday 26 August

The Municipality has recently embarked on numerous networking engagements and efforts to promote collaboration with the private sector. We are very conscious of promoting partnership relationships with other stakeholders that will benefit our citizens either through the creation of jobs or in improving living conditions. Set out below are brief summaries of various efforts that are taking place:
• Regular networking engagements between the Business Chamber executive and the Municipality leadership are taking place to explore ways in which the needs of Chamber members can be improved. A short-term objective is to develop a memorandum of understanding. A “First Thursday” virtual meeting is planned where Chamber members can meet senior Municipal staff to discuss how some of the recent changes and improvements to service delivery can be beneficial.
• A similar engagement is also being planned between the built-environment practitioners and Municipal staff to explain the improvements being made to speed up approvals for town planning applications and building plans.
• A Corporate Social Investment Policy will shortly be presented to Council which sets out guidelines whereby the corporate sector can participate and support worthy community projects. SA Breweries has already expressed their willingness to participate in such a programme.
• A Film Policy being finalised will enable film directors to make use of many George locations for film shoots thereby promoting film industry in our area.
• Discussions are being undertaken with international BPO companies who are exploring opportunities to establish contact centre operations in George that could offer employment to potentially hundreds of our young citizens.
• At a sporting level we have recently held discussions with investors from rugby, cricket and tennis sporting codes wishing to invest into sporting infrastructure in George.
• George is becoming an attractive location for inward semi-gration as citizens seek safe and functioning lifestyle opportunities away from areas with poor municipal services and/or prone to unrest. We are also engaging with business groupings to promote George as an attractive investment location.
• We have recently advertised for proposals from event organisers wishing to stage unique events that can attract tourism – here we think of MTB, trail running, golf and many others. We would like to encourage organisers to create some special events that become “must-do” calendar items for participants and their families.
• The recent collaboration with the faith-based organisations where prayers were held for Covid-19 was a wonderful example of how the thoughts of Cllr Johan du Toit culminated in this engagement – my thanks to all who made this possible.
• Recent visits to soup kitchens, vegetable gardens and the Garden Route Pantry are likely to result in further collaborative efforts to facilitate the assistance of many of our citizens enduring hardship.
• Council recently made land available in our industrial area for the Garden Route District Municipality to build their fire station base here in George.