Another month of winter has gone by, and although we have shivered and complained, summer is on its way.
The SRA continues to strive for good governance and good outcomes for our lovely town, and it has been decided that we need to put pressure on our Regional Governor regarding non-performance in some critical areas of our town. The Regional Council gets 5% of our rates and yet we have suffered for years with neglect in regard to our public buildings, social welfare facilities and general upkeep of our government offices such as the police station. Our councilors are trying to ensure that future funding is well spent on the improvement of our town. Swakopmund has 14 000 paying rate-payers.
The situation at the Police Station has deteriorated further and the police have been told that they need to evacuate the whole building. Some services are now being run from prefab units in the outside parking area at the back of the building and the police are continually pleading for funding. The lower-floor offices which are still being used inside the station now house three or four officers which makes them crowded and difficult to manage. Our police force has only one traffic camera
THE CHINESE CONSTRUCTION SITE
The Chinese construction site which is no longer in use was offered to the Municipality, but refused as it is felt the site will most likely lead to further problems regarding responsibility, rehabilitation and repairs. It has now been offered to the Regional Governor to use the prefab housing for sporting purposes. The Swakopmund council will now propose that the prefabs be moved to the large, empty area to the north of the Tamariskia/Mondesa clinic. This is government-owned land and the site would be well-placed there. It is suggested that the prefab housing could be used for shelters for the homeless, the street children, soup kitchens etc. HDF Energy, with land in the area of the large traffic interchange to the south of Swakopmund, has asked for a slightly changed position and this is being discussed
CITY LIMITS CONTINUE TO EXAND
Our city limits continue to expand and the northern wedge of Swakopmund is now extending up to the salt pans, on both sides of the road to Henties Bay. As mentioned before, it is planned that the new cemetery will also be built out there, on the eastern side of the main road. It is pleasing to see the quality of the housing which has already been built towards that area – attractive and colourful homes of a good size.
INTERESTING SWAKOPMUND FACTS:
- Councillor Groenewald has been involved with the street-naming committee and at last all is in place for area signs to be erected designating the name of our different areas such as ‘Ocean View, Vineta etc. Street names will follow.
- The Municipal CEO, Mr Benjamin, has accepted the renewal of his position for the next year.
- Rent-a-Drum, the refuse removal business which recycles waste has not renewed its contract with the Municipality as their costs are too high and they need an improved payment. Therefore, at present no recycling is taking place and the recycling orange bins are being collected by the Municipality, but dumped as normal.
- Councillor Henrichsen is involved with updating the town’s health and safety requirements with the Health Department as the old laws are outdated and inadequate.
- The ‘Stop and Search’ initiative which took place in Mondesa, and yielded good results has been highly commended by many Mondesa residents who ask for this to be done more frequently. It is also felt that our traffic officers need to be visible and busy over weekends, but this is difficult with only two vehicles available.
- Discussions and decisions regarding the placement of the food trucks continue and a public meeting will be held regarding this issue.
- The Mole area which is used for the launching and return of fishing boats remains a problem as there are no toilet facilities in this area although these are needed. In general this area is not well controlled, unsavoury; and suffers from vandalism. Architect Karen Mueller has been asked to design a facility which will control the entry and exit of the fishing boats and provide toilet facilities.
- Outstanding debts to the Municipality for services and rates have reached the amount of 4 million dollars, with some pensioners owing up to 100 thousand dollars. This is puzzling as our facilities are generally cut off promptly so it is difficult to understand how amounts such as this have been able to accrue. Why is credit extended to some residents and not others? Hard questions need to be asked.
- Interest in development continues and Cranwell Energy, an American Corporation, has asked for 10h of land to develop solar batteries and panels. However, an assessment of financial viability must be done by the Municipality on the corporation, before this is handled.
WE ARE BLESSED
Swakopmunders, this is our town, and we are blessed to live here in our good conditions and lovely surroundings. Many of us have come here to retire, and are thankful for the peace and the good upkeep of our neighbourhoods. Of course there are problems, and of course we wish we had more affordable housing, tarred streets, buildings in better conditions, less expensive rates and taxes, electricity costs etc. etc.. But just look outside our borders and count your blessings. We do not have electricity load-shedding, riots in our streets, a breakdown of society as seen in many other countries, or polluted seas and water sources. The list of problems that other countries have is unending, and our worries are insignificant in comparison. Remember, if you are worried about a problem in your area, take a photo and write a letter; or send a mail to our Municipality, and follow-up if the problem is not corrected. The hymn, “Count your blessings, Count them one-by-one,” is relevant.