MOSSEL BAY NEWS - At the monthly municipal Council meeting held on Wednesday, 30 September, the following salient issues were discussed and decided on;
• AMENDMENT OF PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT, 2000
The Council noted that it is the view of the Western Cape Government Directorate: Local Government that the leader of a political party must record, preserve and reasonably disclose information on the private funding of his or her political party.
• EXTENSION OF RURAL WATER DELIVERY DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN PERIOD
The Council unanimously approved a recommendation that support be provided to households without municipal water connections in the form of free access to water for domestic purposes during the declared National State of Disaster relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Water may be collected at the Fire Brigade free of charge, if the use is for domestic purposes, during the lockdown.
The free delivery of six kilolitres of water at no charge may be requested from the municipality, providing the use is for domestic purposes.
The delivery of water is subject to the availability of the water truck and limited to one delivery per month.
• EXTENDED PAYMENT ARRANGEMENT OPTIONS FOR NON-RESIDENTIAL CONSUMERS: COVID-19
The Council approved an additional payment arrangement option for non-residential consumers as the COVID-19 National State of Disaster was extended.
Non-residential consumers may enter into a special payment arrangement with the Council to settle arrears accumulated during the ongoing lockdown.
Consumers will have to make payment arrangements following the Council's Customer Care, Credit Control, Debt Collection, Indigent, and Tampering Policy on all debt before the date the National State of COVID-19 Disaster was declared.
Consumers will have to settle all debt and interest accrued after the declared National COVID-19 State of Disaster before entering into this special payment arrangement.
The following conditions may be waved:
- No initial payment towards arrears built up during the declared National COVID-19 State of Disaster, i.e. no deposit as required in terms of the Council's policy,
- Current account plus any interest accrued on the current account is payable monthly from the first payment date after the end date of the declared National State of Disaster,
- Equal monthly installments on arrears, built up during the declared National COVID-19 State of Disaster, over a period up to 24 months is payable starting with the first installment payable on 15 February 2021,
- Interest will be charged on arrears and will be payable with each month's current account,
- No auxiliaries will be deducted from prepaid electricity purchases for the period of the payment arrangement.
If an account holder does not adhere to the payment arrangement, normal credit control will be applied, and auxiliaries will be deducted from prepaid electricity purchases.
• HEALTH RISK - 5G CELLULAR AND COMMUNICATION MASTS
The Council accepted a recommendation that states that no evidence exists that 5G cellular towers have negative health effects.
Council accepted a recommendation "that cognisance be taken that, according to a letter and report received from the Department Environmental Affair and Development Planning (DEADP), dated 13 August 2020, no conclusive evidence exists that Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, including those emissions from 5G cellular towers, has any negative health effects.
An item which served before the Executive Mayoral Committee on 15 September 2020 reads:
"Mobile technology companies are rolling out new technology referred to as '5G' or 'Fifth Generation', among others. Although the availability of '5G' or 'Fifth Generation' could not be confirmed in Mossel Bay at the time when the item was compiled, the Municipality received concerns from residents regarding the perceived health risks of this new technology.
Due to the concerns raised, the Municipality again approached the DEADP seeking advice and clarity on the perceived health risk of the new technology.
An important extract from the response letter, received on 13 August reads: "This Department has considered the stance adopted by numerous international and national organisations, with regards to the 5G technology, which includes the World Health Organisation, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and the South African Department of Health. The consensus from these organisations is that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that exposure to the EMF, including those emissions from 5G cellular towers, has any negative health effects."
The ACDP and FF+ abstained.
• PARKING POLICY FOR MOSSEL BAY
The Council approved the recommendation that the draft Parking Policy for the central business district is adopted and that the necessary public participation process should follow.
The policy will be referred to the Council for final consideration after the public participation process.
The purpose of the policy is to enable a comprehensive approach to the provision and management of parking in the CBD. The policy aims to provide guidelines for the assessment of parking supply provision as stipulated in the Municipal Planning By-Laws for expanding businesses, property redevelopment by changing the land uses within the existing buildings and additional residential components to existing businesses in the CBD.
The draft policy was presented to representatives of the Mossel Bay Business Chamber and the Mossel Bay Central Improvement District who could circulate the policy to their members for comment. The closing date for comments was 11 August and no comments were received from either of the organisations.
The Mossel Bay Spatial Development Framework (MBSDF) and Mossel Bay Central Precinct Plan (MBCPP) propose the addition of more Business and General Residential uses to strengthen the CBD node as a vibrant business and tourist hot spot. The CBD of Mossel Bay is, however, characterised by historical residential and business buildings which are mainly constructed on property boundaries with limited or no on-site parking space available.
Parking requirements, therefore, limit the future expansion in some areas of the CBD, as it will put more pressure on the already optimally utilised on-street parking system. The result is that the urban restructuring goals set in the applicable policies cannot be achieved.
Assessments were made of the use of the current available on-street parking provisions in the CBD of optimally utilised and underutilised on-street parking as well as optimally utilised and underutilised public parking areas. Maps have been produced and will be reviewed and will evolve as the CBD urban form and utilisation change.
The survey of the utilisation of on-street parking bays and public parking bays will guide the evaluation process of development proposals in the CBD concerning parking requirements. This policy will enable informed decision-making regarding future expansion and redevelopment in the CBD since an ad-hoc approach to evaluate and development proposals will have a detrimental impact on the entire functioning of the CBD.
• RELIEF MEASURES: NATIONAL COVID-19 STATE OF DISASTER
Considering the effect of the National COVID-19 State of Disaster on local businesses, the Council resolved on 26 March 2020 to afford an amnesty period on accounts and rent payments to all lessees of municipal property.
The Council approved various requests received from the lessees of municipal property to assist with and mitigate the financial losses the business owners have suffered during and as a result of the lockdown.
The National State of COVID-19 Disaster declared on 15 March 2020 resulted in a prolonged lockdown and prohibited tourism and leisure activities until at least the end of August 2020.
Upon request, several beneficial concessions were approved for, among others, the traders at the Beehives in KwaNonqaba and D'Almeida, the Goods Shed, the various sporting facilities, the Ice Cream Kiosk, and the old bus station at the Point, De Vette Mossel, the various caravan parks and the Mossel Bay Zipline.
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