It’s old news but having someone to blame for Knysna’s empty shops is too easy when we’re trying to survive in tough times… and pointless news when our local government never seems to have a plan to address our urban decay (if you mention the ISDF as a positive, you need your brain walloped).
It would be better if our newspapers didn’t rehash old inflammations and instead investigated this important issue properly or, at least, posed practical questions to those in power.
I’m rushing so forgive me for my quick thoughts on the matter. You can read the article that prompted this at www.knysnaplettherald.com/news/News/General/150794/Concern-about-vacant-shops.
- Knysna Mall’s extension changed the face of the centre of town forever. It should never have been allowed but crying over spilled milk is pointless. We need to embrace the Mall (and its shop owners), and look to the future, learning from our mistakes i.e. that Knysna Municipality and our Council, both DA and ANC, seems to choose property developers over the wishes of residents.
- 1% vacancy at Woodmill Lane makes no sense as a statistic or fair reporting. If one shop were empty, surely the figure would be higher. But Woodmill Lane does deserve applause for having obviously made a big effort under pressure. Better topics by the newspaper would be reductions in rent and how many temporary shops get cheap space over long-term tenants (that’s a topic for the whole town, not only Woodmill).
- Don’t be xenophobic and blame Chinese immigrants. I find them to be a pleasant, hardworking community. If it’s true that they’re getting set-up cash from their country, they have a distinct advantage… but one most of us would have taken if it had been on offer to us. If there’s any main fault it’s in the lack of national regulations.
- I consider the failure by our politicians and local government employees to interact and try understand minority communities in Knysna to be criminal. Without understanding there can only be future conflict. We have to embrace Moslem, Chinese, Malawian, Zimbabwean (etc.) residents and, in turn, encourage them to embrace our town instead of isolation.
- What value does our Municipality have if they can’t even sort a few market stalls in Templeman Square (in Main Road)? My opinion is that they are THAT USELESS.
- Instead of introducing ridiculous by-laws and encouraging public drinking, the Municipality needs to introduce and enforce those that matter most e.g. punishing landlords who fail to introduce more attractive offers to tenants. I’m not generalising the attitude of landlords. I speak only of the bad. I salute the good landlords our town has. They have faced a difficult the past 6 years and must be applauded for remaining invested in our town.
- There are matters beyond our control. As i’ve said for years, as a realist not a pessimist, tougher financial and social times are coming. We have to figure what we can do better… and to let go that which we have little to no power over. What we definitely don’t need is hollow political promises or an election without our prospective councillors having a Knysna related agenda that they can be held accountable too.
- We don’t need citizens who consider armchair opinions about faraway places to be more important than those involving our town (which i still proudly call The Prettiest Town in South Africa).
I can’t pop online much but please be productive in the comment section on my Facebook.