TALKING BEAUTIFICATION: Chairman of the Port Alfred Business Forum (PABF) and landscape architect Warren Lange, landscape designer and candidate landscape technologist Yvo Suijs, and landscape designer Joanne Hilliar, at the PABF meeting at Royal St Andrews Hotel last Thursday
GREEN BRIDGE: An artists’ conception for beautifying the Nico Malan Bridge
Business for beautifying Port Alfred
THE Port Alfred Business Forum (PABF) has applied its imagination to beautifying Port Alfred to attract tourists and potential home buyers and boost the local economy.
At its meeting last Thursday, PABF chairman Warren Lange said that Port Alfred suffered from an image problem as the entrance to the town was marred by the spectacle of second hand furniture on the sidewalk.
“If I was driving through Port Alfred and I saw that I would drive on to the next town,” he said.
He said that the main road also suffered from congestion and lack of charm which detracts from Port Alfred’s inherent beauty, the beauty of the bridge, the marina and the Kowie River.
Although a lot of development needs to be done in the township, it makes sense for the municipality to concentrate on beautifying the town to attract tourists, said Lange.
“The municipality has done a lot to improve some roads in Port Alfred, but they are focused on providing labour intensive projects rather than focused on the end product which is improving the land,” he said.
He had invited the municipality to attend the meeting, but there were no municipal officials present.
In his presentation, Lange said he had asked three French interns of his business, Hort-Couture, to come up with some ideas for improving Port Alfred’s image.
Martin Senechal, Vincent Genez and Anthony Legran created an image of main street as a one-way with the road winding along in the same iconic shape as the river, with less parking space and more space for pedestrians and trees.
They also created an image of the Nico Malan Bridge as a green bridge. The advantage of a green bridge is that it is sustainable, unlike the lights which once beautified the bridge, but which were not sustainable, Lange said.
He suggested that the ward committees should invite architectural experts to advise council and businesses on practical ways to beautify the town.
“There is a correct way to do things,” said Lange. “The by-laws should be adhered to for the public open space display of goods.”
For example, he has applied to the municipality for permission to use part of the land in front of his shop, which is located in the old DA office in the car park between Campbell and Van der Riet streets.
Other ideas were a coat of arms or logo for Port Alfred, a cycle path along the river and a pedestrian bridge between east and west beach.
“We need to get the municipality to buy into the idea,” Lange said.
It was agreed that Sandy Birch would ask the municipality for a war room consisting of members of the Business Forum to address the ward committee.
Local businessman, Owen Hilliar, suggested that the PABF get bigger businesses involved, and put out a bulletin for those who were too busy to attend meetings.
Hennie Marais of The Announcer gave a talk on a new app, Ttrumpet, which allows users to pinpoint municipal problems on a map of Port Alfred.
When people begin using it, “Ttrumpet will light up Port Alfred like a Christmas tree,” quipped Lange.