Friday, March 23, 2007

Big plans for Wetlands Park

March 23, 2007
Zululand OBSERVER


Big plans for Wetlands Park

ON 1 May the Wetland Authority is taking over the management of the St Lucia beach front. This includes the undertaking of extensive repairs and ensuring appropriate service levels.
At Cape Vidal, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife have committed to undertaking the required repairs and maintenance to ensure that the day visitor facilities will be in a proper working order - this includes taps, showers and toilet cisterns.
The water issues at Cape Vidal are related to the rather erratic municipal supply to St Lucia town and the southern section of the Wetland Park experienced during December 2006. The Park is currently installing an auxiliary water system for emergencies in future.
Parking areas are also being rehabilitated by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife following the heavy December rains.

Improvements
Braai grids are available on request from the Vidal reception office at Cape Vidal. This service will be advertised more prominently to day visitors.
We hope that many will have noticed the conservation successes and improvements on the Eastern Shores over the last few years.
These include the removal of 15 000 hectares of exotic pine plantations and significant changes in the game viewing experience due to the introduction and increase in the numbers of game such as zebra, oribi, white rhino, kudu, buffalo, water buck and hippo.
Visitor access in normal sedan vehicles has also significantly improved with the tarring of the 33km road from St Lucia to Cape Vidal and an additional 18km western shores game drive route.
By Easter another two 2x4 game drive loop roads along with pan view point roads will be open to visitors.
The complete rebuilding of the 4km Mission Rocks road is underway.
Also in process, is the building of new serviced public picnic site overlooking the Lake St Lucia at Catalina Bay and Mission Rocks view point.
A new state of the art hide with 2x4 access is being built at the Mfabeni pan. The Cape Vidal gate and car park at the crocodile farm is also being upgraded.
These upgrades are not limited to the Eastern Shores.
On the Western Shores a new section of park will be open shortly along with a 2x4 game drive from St Lucia to Charter’s Creek with new hides, game viewing roads and other infrastructure.
Like the Eastern Shores thousands of hectares of pine plantations have been removed and game such as elephant, black and white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, tsetsesbe, water buck introduced.
Day visitor upgrades and conservation improvements are also in progress in the uMkhuze Game Reserve and Sodwana section of the World Heritage Site.

Job creation
Implementation of signage and park furniture programme (benches, braai’s etc.) begins in March 2007 and over the next two financial years signage and furniture in day visitor areas across the Park will be replaced. The Eastern Shores and St Lucia beach front are part of Phase 1 of this roll-out.
Importantly, significant local spin offs have been created in this process. Over 50 SMME have been contracted per annum and 4500 local jobs created each year. More than the 350 jobs dune mining would have been created.
In order to help us manage a World Heritage site that we can all be proud of, we appeal to locals and tourists who care about the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park to contact us directly to report compliance issues, concerns or complaints.
Please contact Wetland Authority’s Media Officer, Pontso Pakkies, at wetlandmedia@mweb.co.za for general issues or Peter Hartely, Compliance Officer on hartelypete@mweb. co.za for compliance issues. Both can be contacted on 035 5901633.
Alternatively Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife tourism related issues contact Ian Porter at iporter@kznwildlife.com or 031 274 1158 or conservation issues Dirk Rousouw at roussouwd@kznwildlife.com or 035 5909002.

No comments:

Post a Comment