He indicated that the proposed relocation of GARAGES will allow the early commencement of the much anticipated rejuvenation of the Fosu Lagoon into a multipurpose tourist’s site.
Additionally, it will serve as a multi-purpose recreational centre, create jobs and generate revenue for the government.
Mr. Pokoo-Aikins made the appeal in Cape Coast during a stakeholder’s sensitisation forum to solicit inputs on the most effective strategy to relocate the artisans.
The initiative will be carried out in collaboration with the Coastal Development Authority (CODA), Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly, University of Cape Coast, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Tourism Authority and Oguaa Traditional Council among others.
It is being spearheaded by the Regional Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with BUSAC and funded by DANIDA,USAID and the European Union.
Mr. Pokoo-Aikins described the intended relocation as ‘historic’ as several attempts over the last 35 years to relocate the artisans had been unsuccessful.
Currently, most of the members of the GARAGES are located at siwdu, near the Siwdu Sports stadium, where quantities of oil from vehicles are discharged daily into drains, which end up in the Fosu lagoon due to its proximity.
As The Fosu lagoon was polluted by the artisans with solid and liquid waste endangering aquatic life for years.
“Many of the artisans especially the mechanics known locally as “fitters” have resorted to dumping their solid waste into the lagoon thereby destroying aquatic organisms.”
“Therefore, as members of the Chamber, we are committed to peacefully relocate them to a modern centre, where their solid and liquid waste could be put into use to create revenue and jobs, Mr Pokoo-Aikins noted.
Presenting a report on a research finding on the relocation of Siwdu GARAGES to Mempeasem, Reverend Haruna Ndebugri, a Senior Lecture at the Cape Coast Technical University who led the research described the Fosu lagoon as a ‘milk cow’ which if well-developed could increase revenue generation, attract investments and improve the standard of living of the citizens through employment creation.
The research done using convenience sampling, found out that only 20 acres of the 300 acre of land earmarked for the proposed relocation lingering for years had been paid for since 2014.
Some of the members of the GARAGES had proposed that about 48acres were available at different places at Mempeasem that could be considered, while others preferred different locations like Aggrey Memorial Zion school, Ghana National and the Electricity Company Areas.
The research among others recommended that the relocation of the GARAGES to Mempeasem was the best and should be done with all social amenities, security, among others provided by the Assembly with proper documentation on land ownership, leasing options and legal issues.
The Assembly should as well make good its promise and ensure that a police barrier close to the site was moved further away to allow free flow of vehicles.
There should also be proper customer service training for operators of the GARAGES to help them develop good customer services thereby maintaining continuous patronage for their services irrespective of the distance to the site.
Stakeholders at the forum called for improved social amenities and utilities before relocation.
According to them, lack of such facilities will affect their work and consequently force many to occupy unauthorized places to create congestion and untidy environment.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area was unhappy that the magnificent project which started nearly 30 years ago had stalled due to misunderstanding and disagreements.
He told the CODA to make quick payment to the land owners to end the increasing encroachment as it engaged for the release of more lands to boost their activities.
He declared the traditional Council's support for the Project saying plans were advanced for other investors to in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, among others,to develop tourism sites.
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