Shop owners operating in the vicinity of the statue of the Late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo have raised concern with Bulawayo City Council’s decision to bring back the pedestrian mall saying it was an unprofitable venture.
Last year, a mock mall was erected from the 9th of December 2013 to January the 5th, 2014 and roads were closed off to all vehicular movement from Jason Moyo Street from Leopold Takawira to 9th Avenue and 8th Avenue being closed from Fife Street to Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo Street.
Most business record brisk business in December as most people would be have extra disposable income and council had wooed companies to take advantage of the free spending public to make more money.
However, companies seem to have rejected the idea saying they did not realise any profit from the displaying their goods and services at the mock mall.
The local authority claimed the mall was a success and it ‘brought life to the CBD and it is proposed that the Mall be an annual Christmas event during the December to January period”.
However, in October council held a meeting with shop owners who said the mock mall negatively affected their businesses financially.
According to a council report, “the shop owners suggested that the Mall be done any other month rather than in December as they lost profits from the last Mall held in 2013,” reads part of the report.
Some shop owners suggested that the mall be done on the first week of December 2014, from the 6th and 7th of December and also between the 27th and 28th December.
As part of activities, it is proposed that a special for Mayor to meet business Community over Lunch be set aside, lectures given to interested groups and promotional events by companies be done.
Last year, only a few companies, notable among them CBZ Bank, Bravo Transport Company and telecommunications companies Econet and Telecel as well as some individual sculptors, took up space at the temporary mall.
A request by the Joshua Nkomo National Foundation (JNNF) to set up a permanent structure close to statue was rejected with authorises saying it would endanger the lives of pedestrians.
Council said, “From a town planning perspective, it was not prudent to set up a business in the middle of the road as this compromises safety of both users and visitors to the business.
“Allowing such an activity in the middle of the road might endanger the lives of pedestrians. It should be noted that Jason Moyo Street and 8th Avenue was not yet a mall, but a road. It was this department’s considered view that the applicants would look for an office space within the vicinity and sell the promotional materials.”
Source: Radio Dialogue