Huye District moves to change face of town

HUYE - District authorities have stepped up a campaign to have all business premises especially in Butare town refurbished. The central business district is composed mainly of old structures which have been neglected over the years.
Ongoing renovation works on a petrol station in Butare town. The district has moved to change the face of one of the oldest towns in the country. (Photo: P. Ntambara)
Ongoing renovation works on a petrol station in Butare town. The district has moved to change the face of one of the oldest towns in the country. (Photo: P. Ntambara)

HUYE - District authorities have stepped up a campaign to have all business premises especially in Butare town refurbished.

The central business district is composed mainly of old structures which have been neglected over the years.

Francois Uhagaze, the Mayor in an interview with The New Times said the refurbishment process will be gradual until all the dilapidated structures are phased out.

“We have been in consultations with business people operating in the town. We have agreed on a plan to revamp the main business section of the town, a plan which will start to be implemented next month,” he said.

Landlords are expected to construct multiple storey structures to ease pressure on the limited land.

A partnership of prominent business people in the town will see the construction of Rwf1.5billion shopping complex. Construction work has since started.

“This is part of a long term plan to develop this town. We started with residential houses in the affluent residential area of Taba where we insisted on construction of fences and the reception has been positive,” said the Mayor.

The district recently clamped down on dilapidated petrol stations in the centre of the town. Many have closed down for renovation.

“Owners of petrol stations were notified of the need to refurbish their premises. Some of them did not comply which forced us recently to mount a clampdown on such premises which failed to heed our call,” said Uhagaze.

Early this week, Ngoma Sector authorities identified buildings on the town’s main street that will have to be demolished. The exercise sent shock waves amongst the business community as nearly all buildings in the town were ear marked for demolition.

Annonciata Kambayire, the Sector Executive Secretary in an interview said that there is no cause for alarm.

“The markings were meant to act as a reminder to owners of such property of the need to refurbish their buildings. We shall soon hold a meeting with them to set a plan of how they intend to renovate these structures,” she said.

The refurbishment exercise has attracted mixed reactions from the local business community in the town. Many who were interviewed by The New Times said that their financial capacity does not tally with the required standard of buildings set by the sector authorities.

“Many of us cannot raise the funds needed to construct multiple storey buildings expected by the local authorities. We are suggesting that instead we should be allowed to simply renovate the old houses,” said one businessman who preferred anonymity.

Construction work on the business district is expected to begin on November 12, a date agreed upon by business people and sector authorities.

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