Beautifying the railway fence

2019-02-19 06:00
Residents of Observatory have taken it upon themselves to beautify the fencing along the railway line in Oak Street.PHOTO: thabang kuaho

Residents of Observatory have taken it upon themselves to beautify the fencing along the railway line in Oak Street.PHOTO: thabang kuaho

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A group of residents in Observatory have taken it upon themselves to beautify the fencing along the railway line on Oak Street after the old fence was replaced with a new palisade one.

One of the community members who started this initiative, Alexandra Fraser, said they started off by removing weeds, digging up rubble and old roots and clearing sections of the fence after they noticed that it was looking rather dull.

“We then started to plant sections at a time with plants, creepers, a few fruit trees and sowing seeds.

“We have not planted much during the summer as the heat and wind affect newly planted plants,” she said.

With the plant donations they have received, the community has managed to plant a few seeds. They also managed to get some compost from their own pockets and from other donors.

But all this has not been enough to carry the project forward, so the group has created a Facebook group and appealed to other community members and businesses to help them with the material they need to see the project through.

“Currently we do not have any sponsors and we would welcome any donations of plants, soil and breeze blocks so that we can retain the soil. We would also welcome anything that the community would like to offer.”

The volunteers do not get remuneration for their efforts and did not get permission from the Passanger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to start the project.

“We have no idea if they (Prasa) know about this initiative – we have not contacted them about this.”

She said the workers along the railway line have been supportive, with some even assisting them with preserving the plants.

Depending on water restrictions and availability, Fraser said, they would like to cover the entire fence on Oak Street.

“We would even like to do it outside the station entrance as that could do with some beautifying.” Hopefully people from the roads in the precinct will be encouraged to adopt their own stretch of fence.”

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said they were not aware of this initiative taken by the residents.

“While we welcome the good intentions and willingness to beautify the area, we strongly recommend that the appropriate division be consulted as soon as possible to ensure that issues such as visibility, future maintenance responsibility and mandate be clarified before implementation.

“There is no mention of Prasa employees who were consulted. However, the issue is Metrorail’s compliance with the Health and Safety, Legal Succession and Heavy Machinery acts to minimise risk and disruption to scheduled services in its operational areas, including the rail reserve.”

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