Chirundu needs to become a properly planned town amid high value agriculture and tourism areas, says the Chirundu Local Board, as it works on a masterplan that will consolidate growth and attract investment.
The masterplan is estimated to cost nearly US$200 000 and will demarcate land according to predetermined uses, paving way for the expansion of the town’s boundaries.
Government has committed resources under the Devolution Fund towards development of Chirundu, which has so far seen the purchase of tractors, graders and tippers aimed at promoting self-reliance.
Chirundu sits on about 51 square kilometres of land, which has been deemed inadequate for its growth projections, as investors are knocking on its doors with proposals for a horticultural value chain and tourism related ventures.
The plan is expected to cure the haphazard development related to its formation and transient nature of activities associated with an unplanned border town.
The settlement, which is now home to thousands of people — with about 500 residential, 65 commercial and 20 riverfront properties — now needs to be converted into a formalised settlement.
The tendering process for the masterplan has already been done and Chirundu now waits for funding to undertake the project.
Board secretary Mr Wilson Gunhe said Chirundu was on a growth trajectory, but progress was being hampered by lack of a masterplan to set the tone for the development.
“We want to have the masterplan which will guide current and future development of the town,” he said. “We expect to incorporate some of the areas currently held by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
“The current boundaries leave us with very little land for expansion. Some of the land in the boundary is held by private players and when we need to use it we need to go through formalities of transfer through Government.”
The private owners, who include a fish farm and a banana plantation, sit on about 3 000 hectares. As part of moves to formalise the settlement, Chirundu demolished the illegal Baghdad shacks and started constructing proper roads with markings and putting in solar street-light. At least 625 stands at Mopani now await servicing, which has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The land has been identified and servicing is being affected by the current lockdown,” said Mr Gunhe. “It will take a bit of time and we have stopped the process.”