After the success of the initial art project to revive Aberdeen, a great deal of interest has been generated amongst residents in improving conditions in the town, both for tourists and residents.
A meeting was held last Thursday at Aberdeen Self Catering, arranged by Jurgens Strydom and Archibald Norval, to discuss ways to uplift the town and particularly the central business district. The meeting was promoted as a combination of a ratepayers’ association, for service delivery problems, and for ideas to promote tourism and possibly a local business chamber.
Norval chaired the discussion, and one of the first areas to be considered was the strengths and weaknesses in the town at present. It soon became apparent that the people of Aberdeen are key factors in both areas: there are many incredibly talented people in the town with a diverse interests and skills, and if these can be harnessed in a positive manner, there is great potential for development in the town. However, a widespread apathy and unwillingness to get involved is also prevalent.
As always, the generally poor service delivery level of the municipality was raised, with the lack of supervision of workers as well as poor leadership being mentioned. Facilities such as the caravan park and gardens are in a poor state, and the ever-present litter was also discussed, with proposals for recycling facilities.
It was pointed out that the Ratepayers’ Association is no longer active due to lack of commitment and interest, and there has been no tourism office in town for over a year.
One of the key suggestions proposed by Norval was that members from different communities need to be grouped together and made responsible for designated areas in town. He cited the example that members from Lotusville, the farming community and the businesses could form small groups to fix up for instance all the gardens of the town.
A novel idea was that from within the group of interested residents there should be a “shadow manager” for different municipal disciplines to be appointed to watch over what is seen to be the mismanagement of municipal funds and poor execution of tasks. Suggested portfolios included EWP labour, rubbish dump management, bore holes and water pump management, traffic rules and road signs, maintenance of buildings, and cleaning of the irrigation water furrows.
Strydom explained that the idea is to create many portfolios and give EVERY member a task – this should not be a place where passive members can come sit and complain about the active members not doing a good enough job. “Everybody must take part in some or other town issue and drive that issue for the good of all” he said.
There were about 40 people at the meeting, many of whom are not normally seen at community meetings, and they were certainly given some food for thought.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 23 January at 18:00, at Aberdeen Self Catering