BY SAMANTHA SIBANDA
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has embarked on a virtual consultation with residents on the city’s master plan in line with the country’s Regional, Town and Country Planning Act.
The current consultations come after the city council last year initially conducted door-to-door survey to gather input from residents in preparation for the local development plan.
Town clerk Christopher Dube advised members of the public that the city was developing a Local Development Plan.
This week, the city council gave notice to the residents that it is conducting the virtual consultations with them to further get their views on the Master Plan.
“Residents are also advised that due to COVID-19 restrictions the meetings will be virtual through ward based Whatsapp groups,” reads the council notice.
“BCC is undertaking a door to door survey to gather input from city residents as it prepares a local development plan. Residents are encouraged to join the meetings through the links given.”
However, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairman Ambrose Sibindi said they hope that the Bulawayo master plan is about the development that they are looking for.
“From where we are today and to the future that we are heading, the plan is needed and what is planned that is from the old infrastructure to the new, ” Sibindi said.
He said the economic challenges would affect some of the residents in joining the virtual consultations because they have no gadgets or smart phones.
Sibindi also said data charges were also deterrent but the resident association will present their contributions to the master plan.
Under the proposal, Bulawayo will have an integrated master plan, strategic plan and waste and water master plan, based on funding from donor agencies such as the United Nations and USaid.
The local authority has on several occasions announced ‘master’ and ‘development’ plans to ostensibly angle the city to economic growth.
In 2017, the BCC revealed plans to produce an economic blueprint aimed at ensuring the city regains its industrial hub status, after suffering years of de-industrialisation. City fathers argue there was a need for the local authority to prepare and implement an economic blueprint in line with the city’s vision: “Bulawayo, City of Kings, Leader in Local Governance with a Vibrant Economy.”