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Greater Wilderness Business Initiative feedback - final general meeting of 2013

First of all our thanks go to Claudio Nespola & Massimo Mariotti for once again willingly hosting the meeting at Salinas, even though this requires significant disruption in the set-up of their restaurant.

Attendance at the meeting was extremely poor, which is an indication that the majority of business owners apparently see no benefit in a cooperative approach to protecting and developing Wilderness. This is also borne out by insufficient financial support to enable the continuation of the Village Monitor project, and to keep the parking area next to Milkwood Village open for the season. As it stands, there is a shortfall of some R28k for the period 1 November 2013 to 28th February 2014.
In preparing an initial budget to cover these essential projects, we had anticipated earning some revenue by charging for parking during the season. Our rationale was that most visitors are accustomed to paying for parking, and a R10 entry fee to the car park was not exhorbitant. Strong local resistance forced us to abandon this plan, although if contributions from more businesses are not forthcoming, we will have to reintroduce this charge early in December or close the parking area entirely. The budget also planned for receipt of fixed contributions from businesses in the village to support the Monitor project for 6 months, and to expand the project for the duration of the holiday season. In order to spread the costs equitably, requests were made for one-time contributions of R3000 from village restaurants as they benefit most from the project, and one-time contributions of R2000 from other village businesses. While the overall response so far has been disappointing, we would like to thank the following businesses for their participation and contributions:
Restaurants: Cocomos; Royal Siam
Retail: Jungle; Wilderness Pharmacy; Wilderness Spar
Estate Agents: Eskel Jawitz; Fine & Country; Lew Geffen Sothebys
We really believe that it is essential to Wilderness as a whole to keep the Monitor program running at least until the end of the season, so ask all businesses, whether you operate from the CBD or not, to consider making a financial contribution towards this objective. Direct deposits can be made to:
WRRA
First National Bank
George Branch Code: 210114
Account No: 52290076713 Please use the reference VM and your business name.
At the end of the meeting, Phillip Parsons of WRRA presented a diagram of the proposed GIPTN bus routing through the village. While the Municipality have apparently now agreed that the best terminus point is at the Sanparks lagoon car park, they will still initially be implementing their originally planned terminus opposite the Oude Kaross as “a temporary measure”. This is apparently due to the extent and nature of negotiations required between various parties, which may take as long as 2 years to resolve. While the introduction of the GIPTN bus service is to be applauded, as far as we are presently aware, none of the necessary actions or negotiations has actually commenced to assure that the final terminus position is at Sanparks. As we are still at least some 6-8 months away from implementation of the service, we strongly recommend that businesses bring pressure to bear on the Municipality to start the negotiating process now.
In closing, we advise that Graham Sell is standing down from the GWBI Committee, having fulfilled his commitment to establish the organisation. Austin Newing will act as a Caretaker Chairperson until the end of the holiday season, when new Committee elections will be held.
We are hoping to reconvene a General Meeting in March 2014, when everyone has had a chance to catch their breath after what we hope will be a fantastic holiday season for you all.

 
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Greater Wilderness Business Initiative feedback - final general meeting of 2013

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