Phoenix Industrial Park was launched in 1982 as a Sanlam development and has subsequently evolved from what was originally a vacant tract of farm land, to become an economic powerhouse in the burgeoning northern corridor of Durban. Measuring 230 hectares, it is now home to 392 lot-owners and approx. 460 businesses, making it one of the largest industrial complexes in the country and the provider of employment opportunities to some 30,000 people from the surrounding residential communities. It also contributes in excess of R38million annually to the City coffers by way of municipal rates.
The Park is managed by the Phoenix Industrial Park Lot-Owners Association (PIPLOA), whose main activity is to promote the communal interests of its members and provide security services around and within the Park. The Association is governed by an elected board of directors composed of volunteer, unpaid business leaders in the Park, under the Chairmanship of Mr Freddie De Kock. It also employs its own administrative staff to implement the decisions taken by the board and manage the day-to-day affairs of the Park, under the direction of Township Manager, Mr Mike O’Donovan. The success of the Park can be attributed to a number of key factors, including :-
The Park is strategically located within easy access of all main transport networks and with an enormous source of labour close to hand. The advent of the neighbouring Bridge City development with its new railway link to Durban, along with the international airport at nearby La-Mercy, has also served to underline the value of the Park’s strategic location.
The Park operates a zero-tolerance policy towards crime and is unique in that it employs, through the Association, a full-time security contractor to provide 24 / 7 armed response services to businesses that are also electronically linked to a central control facility. These security measures are augmented by strong partnerships formed with the SAPS and Metro Police, as well as the presence of CCTV surveillance cameras at various strategic points throughout the Park.
Great efforts have gone into the aesthetics of the Park. The Association employs its own garden staff and with help from the Municipality, the Park is well landscaped and regularly maintained. At its own cost, the Association has also undertaken various landscaping projects, including the entrances to the Park and other high-visibility areas.
The Park’s success can also be attributed to the links that the Association has formed with external service providers, especially the Municipality, as well as with National, Regional, and Local Government Departments.
In April 2013, the eThekwini Municipality, in partnership with PIPLOA and the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry, jointly launched a Business Retention & Expansion Programme to identify opportunities for businesses in the Park and address obstacles to expansion and growth. For more details of this exciting initiative go to “Business Retention & Expansion Programme”.
Through its good working relationships with the media, the Association has regularly promoted the Park to the general public and to the business community at large. This has included the publication of newspaper supplements in the Sunday Tribune and The Mercury on the occasions of the Park’s 21st, 25th and 30th birthdays.
Another cornerstone of the Park’s success has been the communication between the Association and its members through social gatherings and newsletters. Thanks to the BR&E program entered into with the eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Park will soon have its own Business Directory and Website, which can only help to improve communication.
Many of the achievements already mentioned formed part of a 5 year business plan prepared by the Association back in 2003 and these have subsequently been reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Future challenges will include issues such as upgrading an expanding the CCTV camera surveillance system, creating greater off-road parking facilities for vehicles, and in partnership with the Municipality, regulating the activities of the informal traders operating within and around the Park.
There is no doubt that PIPLOA has played a pivotal role in planning and executing the various factors that have contributed to the success of the Park.
It is therefore fitting to suggest that after 33 years of continued and sustained growth, there are good reasons to believe that Phoenix Industrial Park can look forward to meeting future challenges with confidence.