VICTORIA Falls municipality has said the city’s buffer zones will be reduced to 70 metres and the land will be used to create about 900 stands for locals.
Speaking at a full council meeting last week, town clerk Christopher Dube said presently, the buffer zone, which is a piece of land that should not be developed, was 360 metres from the road edges and the council wanted to reduce it to 70 metres.
“There is high need for stands and if we cut the buffer zone we will be able to create up to 900 stands that could be used for housing and other things,” he said.
Dube said the 900 stands will not come from just a single buffer zone area, but by adding up all the land they would cut around the town’s buffer zone areas.
Dube said it was this buffer zone land, which some churches were misusing and conducting open air worship. He added that it was unacceptable to the council because these churches allocated themselves places of worship in the open without consulting the local authority.
“Yes, people can worship, but they should do it in an orderly manner,” Dube said.
“We are trying to be human by engaging with them nicely, but if they do not comply we will be forced to take strict action.
“There are other facilities that they could use like the Chinotimba Hall instead of worshiping in the open.”
He said there were places where the council allowed open worship for crusades which were conducted within a specific period of time and not permanently.
Open worship is taken to be threat to tourism in the resort town because most of the churches conducting open air worship were using land by road sides, where anyone passing by could see and hear them.