Bayworld & Happy Valley redevelopment

A project team led by the MBDA, in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality and the Eastern Cape Provincial DSARC have the vision to develop an iconic world-class ocean city showcasing its diversity of people, culture, heritage and environment.

Bayworld & Happy Valley redevelopment is a mega project for the Eastern Cape Province and seeks to transform 55ha of underutilised land spatially, socially, and economically into an inclusive, post-apartheid new heart for Nelson Mandela Bay. The goal of the programme is to enable multi-generational, multi-cultural and mixed income group usages. The mission is to create a spectacular, iconic place that is the headquarters of a Nelson Mandela Bay eco-tourism and edutainment experience, rooted in the heritage and cultures of the Eastern Province to drive conservation and economic development.

The Bayworld and Happy Valley programme focuses on the national imperative of job creation and economic development while ensuring psycho-social development, conservation, and education for the Eastern Cape. This is to be achieved by activating the potential of its unique biodiversity and intangible heritage to leverage the tourism industry.

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • Unlock the green, built and cultural heritage of the Eastern Cape.
  • Package the wealth of tourism offerings of the province and provide access to them through a digital experience of each and follow up with real in-person experiences.
  • Conserve the threatened terrestrial and oceans biodiversity treasure of the region..
  • Drive an education, knowledge dissemination and research programme that will stimulate minds across the Eastern Cape, South Africa and abroad.
  • Enable social cohesion through access to the experience by multi age, multi-cultural and multi-economic groups from the Bay and the Eastern Cape.

The Bayworld & Happy Valley programme consists of 13 catalytic capital projects that cut across the   Heritage, Science, Environment, Conservation, Tourism, Education, Industry, Recreation and Housing sectors. 

The Bayworld and Happy Valley project utilises the Quadruple Helix and aims to deliver:

  • A conservative R2,2 billion of investment
  • Potentially 4239 temporary jobs during construction
  • Potentially 806 permanent job opportunities during operational phase
  • A potential Contribution to GDP of R 1,5 billion per annum

The Bayworld and Happy Valley programme has generated excitement and anticipation, built up through an extensive widespread stakeholder engagement. One of the positive aspects that have emerged through this process is the understanding that the world approach to zoos and museums has changed, and that participatory and immersive experiences are key, a drastic move away from a traditional circus approach. 

A significant development is the understanding of world class biodiversity and heritage assets of Nelson Mandela Bay and the unique. Also notable is the one-of-a-kind school that exists at Bayworld, welcoming more than 100 000 pupils for the Eastern Cape annually. The dedicated and passionate staff at Bayworld are an inspiring asset to the institution and the city. Bayworld has a unique collection in the Museum, the 100-year-old hepatology section, the rehabilitation work undertaken from Mossel Bay to Natal and the sanctuary to penguins and seals is world class and makes the prospect of redeveloping this iconic asset a privilege.

This programme has demonstrated the importance of public engagement to find solutions for developing a conceptual framework. The ability to listen and join the dots across sectors to find a unique solution to our unique assets is crucial. It takes time to extract meaningful contributions and often the results are not immediately visible. The importance in bringing together stakeholders from all 4 of the quadruple helix sectors to ensure the maximum chance of success for delivery.

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