IN an unusual approach to inform and involve residents in plans for urban renewal in Nelson Mandela Bay, the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) is hosting an inaugural street fair called the Bird Street Bash in Central on Saturday.
The agency, which has spearheaded major urban renewal projects in recent years, has started work in the Bird Street and Belmont Terrace precincts which will undergo a total transformation. It has already completed the upgrade of the Donkin Reserve, as well as Parliament, Govan Mbeki and Strand streets.
"The Bird Street Bash is the first event of its kind and aims to bring together the entire Central community, both residential and business, to celebrate the suburb, the heart of heritage, and to engage the community on the infrastructural and other upgrades planned for the inner city," MBDA planning and development manager Dorelle Sapere said.
"Central is the creative, Afro-cosmopolitan, heritage centre of our city and our planning is based on the premise that it will soon also be the tourism, leisure and entertainment heart. The Bird Street Bash is somewhat of a precursor to this vision," Sapere said.
The event is presented by the MBDA in collaboration with a creative team made up of Adendorff Architects, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), ADA Urban Design, Numb City Productions, the Arts Journey, ArtEC, the Athenaeum and The Trinity Session.
Sapere said Central residents were encouraged to attend to provide the MBDA with their contact details so it could communicate critical information about the upgrade to them directly, and also receive feedback from residents.
Detailed focus of the fair would be on Trinder Square and its conversion to a communal areal.
The line-up includes Port Elizabeth playwright, actor and performing arts stalwart Dr Winston Ntshona, who will be the keynote speaker, and an eclectic mix of Nelson Mandela Bay bands.
Other family entertainment includes clowns, face-painting, buskers, jumping castles, a massive inflatable soccer field, food and artisan stalls and an exhibition of artworks and the plans for the precinct. Giveaways and prizes will also be handed out.
Those attending the event can also leave their mark on Trinder Square by contributing ceramic, pottery or tile pieces – ideally with a piece of personal history attached to them – for the mosaic cladding of benches planned for the park.
"A wide range of artists live, work or display in the area," Sapere said.
The Bird Street Bash takes place from 10am at Trinder Square, between Bird Street and Western Road in Central. Entry is free.