GEORGE NEWS - Responding to concerns about Sallywood and Destiny Africa, project coordinator Fred Brown said although the development has started and the rights are in place, the developers do not wish to rush into the development process.
"We are in the planning phase to ensure that the development rolls out in a sustainable manner and takes all the environmental concerns and requirements of the approval into consideration."
He explained that Sallywood is only a precinct of the whole development. "The rest of the Destiny Africa development is still there. Certain amendments will be applied for for Sallywood, once we know what the film industry's requirements are.
"The conference facility referred to by a concerned town planner has been part of the planning from the beginning and the need for an international airport was acknowledged from the start. It is an integrated development which includes accommodation and business / employment opportunities. Substantial residential approval was received."
Brown says the local people will be part of the project. "Yes, we do receive help from the Chinese developers in terms of money for the development, and Chinese people will be used for very specific skills sets where necessary, but surely the local community itself will never allow us to bring in large numbers of workers from elsewhere.
"It is in our heart to make a difference in the local community. That is also why the land next to Thembalethu was chosen for the Destiny Africa development. Very specific guidelines are part of the social impact assessment that we have to stick to."
According to the George Municipality, an application for extension of the validity of the approval was submitted and is under consideration. "The municipality cannot pre-empt any decision on a current or future land use application but can confirm that once the extent of any future proposal is known, its merit will be evaluated in terms of the consistency with the strategic objectives of the approved municipal spatial development framework. Apart from the extension of validity period, no further applications have been submitted," said communications chief Chantel Edwards-Klose.
Regarding concerns over potential job opportunities for locals at Sallywood, she said the municipality does not dictate the nature and extent of employment provision in the private sector, unless it falls within an area where incentives are sought.
"No such application has been submitted, hence the provision of employment is determined by the private developer and will presumably be granted in accordance with the approved rights and gross lettable floor area."