High grass is unsafe

2015-11-03 06:00
A woman walks past high grass along Wittebome station’s tracks in Castletown Road.  PHOTO: astrid februarie

A woman walks past high grass along Wittebome station’s tracks in Castletown Road. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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A concerned Wynberg resident says the knee-high grass along Wittebome station’s tracks is a nesting place for snakes and rats and a fire hazard. She has called on the authorities to take action.

“As a ratepayer I am really despondent about the attitude of the authorities. The grass was last cut very early in the year, left for the winter season and has still not been cut again. It looks unsightly and untidy,” says Jeanette Stoffels.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott says they understand Stoffels’s concern and will do their utmost to address the matter.

“Our focus and resources must of necessity cover an extensive network comprising 489km of railway track and 123 stations. Metrorail is a service of Prasa Rail, a division of the parastatal Prasa – we are obliged to operate responsibly with the approved funding allocated to us,” she says.

Scott says the clearing of rail reserves is done twice a year. However, the contract does not make provision for “touch ups” in between.

The crux of continuous clearing relates is the availability of funds, she says. With unlimited funding, everything would be possible.

“Where funding proves insufficient for the extent of the need, our various customer service managers collaborate with their local stakeholders to organise regular clean-up programmes in their respective areas.

“The responsible area manager has been alerted to organise an interim clean-up,” she says.

Scott says of necessity any maintenance or clearance of rubble or weeds are primarily aimed at keeping the railway tracks clear and safe for rail operations.

“Vegetation control (mowing and/or spraying) happens during our normal clean-up cycle twice a year,” she says.

Stoffels says some of the grass has been cut in the meantime, but not all the grass along Castletown Road.

“The grass directly opposite Wittebome station has been cut, but not further down the railway line toward Park Road.”

Scott urges residents to report dumping to the City. If the perpetrators can be identified and charged they run the risk of being found guilty of an illegal dumping offence, she says, as illegal dumping is a municipal offence in terms of bylaws and also environmental legislation.

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