Mutare Mayor's Corner - 15 September 2011

Geetings. I thank the reader for his comments on my last column regarding the Sakubva Stadium! It is true that the stadium and all other Council amenities are run down and have lacked maintenance certainly over the last decade if not since independence. We are in the process of refurbishing our master plan and Spacial Land use plan (the previous one expired in 2002) and as an elected council we are working towards attracting urban architectural work for various areas within the city. 

Sakubva Stadium

 These areas can vary from the entrances into the City, a possible cultural belt along the stream running from the Mutare Museum to the Civic Centre and Queens Hall. A link to Meikles Park and over the ridge into our newly transformed main (Aloe) Park. The idea is that once these plans have been submitted to council and approved by the wider public the development opportunities can then be offered to the business community ensuring that our City develops in an orderly and publicly agreed direction. So therefore the Sakubva Stadium and its refurbishment will be included in this architectural work.

Having mentioned our Meikles Park in the above paragraph it is worth commenting on the disturbing developments regarding this important asset of ours! I am sure a lot of you are not aware that the Meikles Park is broken into two portions (commonly known as reserves) The front one of which abuts main street now Herbert Chitepo Street and was bequeathed to the City by the Meikles family for the enjoyment of the general public. The other portion is open for development and has over the years been sold a couple of times and been reposed due to the lack of development. It is with this in mind that Council received a request from a Chinese Diamond mining consortium in partnership with our national Military for the development of a fourteen storey hotel and supermarket complex. Council in our wisdom agreed to the sale (although not going out for open tender it is within our jurisdiction to accept individual proposals). A price was subsequently asked for and documentation securing guarantees of funding for this project were asked for. Since then our parent ministry has entered the fray and we have been advised that the property is required for development in the national interest and that we should hand it over forthwith and government would consider a land swop elsewhere within the City. We as an elected Council are not particularly happy with this development as we are now informed that no one, least of all our parent ministry, knows what type of development is now going to take place. You can be assured that the writer of this column and his fellow councillors will not be arm twisted into relinquishing a lucrative piece of property without adequate compensation and consultation with the public. It is unfortunate that this request and mystery development comes at a time well before our spacial land use plans and architectural endeavours have been completed.

Until next time,

Best regards

Councillor Brian James

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