Knysna hospital to build affordable homes
Katherine Wilkinson GARDEN ROUTE CORRESPONDENT
PLANS are in place to build affordable housing on the ground behind the Knysna Provincial Hospital, with the first option to be given to hospital staff.
Although the plan has been ready for more than a year, a new anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment facility for Knysna was a priority which needed to be met first.
Knysna Hospital Board chairman Richard Dawson said:
�Then out of the blue, two days before the Christmas long weekend last year, we were informed that finances for an ARV facility had been made available from the Fancourt Foundation and construction began in January.�
Within five months the building was completed and the modern facility has been up and running for a couple of weeks.
�Now we can go ahead with housing as the urgent ARV treatment need has been met. At the last board meeting the question of housing provision was discussed in detail again and a decision reached that housing would not be for high- and middle-income groups, but that the planned 80 to 90 units would sell for about R400000,� Dawson said.
�This is subject to seeing and getting the go-ahead from Western Cape Health MEC Marius Fransman and with the input of Public Works MEC Koleka Mqulwana.�
Dawson said the previous health MEC, Pierre Uys, had been enthusiastic about the idea.
In addition, a local developer had agreed to do a feasibility study at no cost.
He said although hospital staff would be given first priority on the planned housing, it was also envisaged that police, municipal workers, teachers and others who were contributing to the running of the town but could not afford to purchase homes could be accommodated.
Knysna and Plettenberg Bay have notoriously high property prices, putting home ownership out of reach for most working class residents.
The possibility also existed that rental units would be available.
�This venture will lead to more stability in the town for people functioning at this level,� Dawson said.