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Thursday, 8.12.2022
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The Victoria Falls City Council (VFCC) has moved an inch closer to becoming a smart city with installation of solar-powered street lights on Livingstone Way.

The project started last month in partnership with Satewave Technologies and close to 100 street lights have been installed out of 575 targeted in the first phase.

Victoria Falls — the country’s youngest city — has put zero-emission and climate-neutral activities at the top of its five-year strategic plan that council is still working on and will be aligned to the National Development Strategy (NDS1).

Besides solar street lights, the local authority is planning on having pedestrians and electric cars in the new normal in the envisaged zone, and the city could be the first “green city” in the country with less gas emissions in the city centre.

The ambitious plans, follow Sweden’s port city of Gothenburg which has set sights on becoming the world’s first climate-neutral city by 2030.

Ensuring sustainable environmental protection and resilience is one of the seven objectives of NDS1.

Victoria Falls’ economy is largely anchored on tourism, hence the need to conserve the environment and the city’s vision is to become Africa’s leading green destination and has since mainstreamed global warming and climate change issues in its master plan.

Council first crafted the five-year strategic plan in 2018 and the top target was to attain city status by 2022 but achieved it in 2020.

Focus has now shifted to providing clean water and attaining green city status, and solar powered lighting is a step in that direction.

Responding to emailed questions yesterday, the city’s acting public relations officer Mr Mandla Dingani said the local authority is open to partnerships which will spearhead green city initiatives such as recycling at the dumpsite, greening buffer zones.

“The partnership between Victoria Falls City Council and Satewave Technologies has led to the initiation of a solar street lighting project which has so far led to the installation of 64 new streetlights along Livingstone Way with 575 expected to be installed in selected areas,” he said.

More solar-powered street lights will be installed on Reynard Road, Clarke Road, Fox Road-1, Mkhosana Entrance, West Drive, Parkway Drive, Syringa Road, Adam Stander Drive, Farm School Road, Road 55 and 62 in Mkhosana.

The old street lights that used to be along Livingstone Way were vandalised years back while thieves stole solar panels and solar batteries from those that were installed by CBZ when the financial institution implemented a housing project in 2016.

The city entered into a US$3 million partnership deal with Satewave Technologies to install solar streetlights under a build-operate-transfer arrangement, among other projects.

The few old street lights on Livingstone Way will be removed and installed in some parts of the city which are not covered by the current solar street light project, said Mr Dingani.

He said the local authority had activated all its departments to ensure all operations work towards attaining goals set in the strategic plan and the greater national vision anchored on NDS1.

“We also want to create cycle tracks to encourage the reduction of carbon footprint. Council, in pursuit of embracing the concept of smart cities, is also seeking partners to fully adopt the use of ICTs which will increase its operational efficiency and improve the quality of lifestyle of its citizens,” he said.

The project will be a relief for residents who have constantly complained about lack of safety because of absence of street lights.

Of late, Livingstone Way has been lit up by the street lights and residents feel safer from being attacked by wild animals, a development which will reduce human-wildlife conflict cases.

The green city concept is a more recent response to the challenge of creating denser, greener and more livable cities.

The resort city, which is the only city in Matabeleland North, does not have traffic lights even in the city centre.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Leonard Ncube

Quelle/Source: The Chronicle, 06.09.2022

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