GWERU mayor, Josiah Makombe on Wednesday said the local authority would soon identify land for the relocation of the Gweru Sports Club and other recreational facilities to allow for the expansion of the Midlands city.

Stakeholders have, however, castigated council for trying to sell land around the sports club to private developers as part of efforts to expand the central business district, (CBD), saying such a move would deprive the city of recreational facilities.

“As city fathers we have resolved that we need to identify alternative land to relocate the recreational facilities before they are sold to private developers,” Makombe said.

“We take cognisance of the need to ensure that recreational facilities are available for our residents, hence we are going to identify suitable land for the relocation of existing facilities before we repossess that land for the city’s expansion drive.”

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Early this year, Gweru Residents Forum director, Charles Mazorodze urged council to “rescind the proposed sale of Gweru Sports Club in the public interest and look for alternative space for the so-called investor”.

Last year, council chamber secretary Vakai Chikwekwe indicated that the municipality would not renew lease agreements on premises located behind the Government Complex to pave way for the establishment of an industrial park that will extend to Fairmile Motel, along Bulawayo Road.

Chikwekwe said council had given the two institutions until January 31 this year to wind up operations.

The proposed disposal of the sports facility has drawn widespread condemnation from the Sports and Recreational Commission, among other stakeholders.