Upgrades planned for Wetland Park in St Lucia

2016-05-19 10:40
Lake St Lucia was almost completely dry in February this year.

Lake St Lucia was almost completely dry in February this year. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - The iSimangaliso Wetland Park in St Lucia is planning a series of upgrades for the world heritage site.

A statement from iSimangaliso director Andrew Zaloumis said they were in the process of redeveloping the park with upgrades nearly completed on the Eastern Shores, Western Shores and uMkhuze sections of the park.

Zaloumis said the upgrades largely focused around the rehabilitation and improving ecosystem functioning. The park’s St Lucia Estuary section is an important part of iSimangaliso, from an ecological and tourism perspective.

“Millions of locals and visitors have appreciated the estuary’s natural beauty over several generations,” said Zaloumis.

“It is now iSimangaliso’s intention to implement 15 projects that will rehabilitate and upgrade this section of the park.”

The upgrade will address ecological issues in and around the estuary and beaches, improve ecological functioning, and modernise day-visitor facilities. Zaloumis said until now, the park had concentrated on the foundations of the park as well as building relationships and empowering local communities.

“During recent years, we have been able to capitalise on this with the construction of visitor facilities such as new gates, hides, board walks and viewing decks,” he said.

“It is rewarding for us and the public to see the park take shape as envisioned.”

The proposed developments of the St Lucia Estuary involves undertakings along the beaches and the public-use areas from the estuary mouth to the Siyabonga Centre.

“All the developments are aimed at aiding in the rehabilitation and restoration of disturbed areas along the estuary banks and the beach environments,” said the statement.

Ablutions and viewpoints will also accommodate disabled users.
A few of the upgrades to the park include:

• Extending the current Estuary boardwalk.

• St Lucia Ski-Boat Club facilities upgrade.

• Sugar Loaf Jetty — creating an entrance to pedestrian trail and picnic area.

• Creating a trail path from Honeymoon Bend to link to Sugar Loaf.

• Sunset Jetty — creating areas for informal and formal traders.

• iSimangaliso South Hiking Trails network to create new linkages with existing self-guided birding and game trails.

Zaloumis said the proposed redevelopment has been divided into three separate basic assessments to be undertaken concurrently within one basic assessment process, and the public is invited to participate between today (May 19) and June 20.

To register as an interested or affected party e-mail stlucia@acerafrica.co.za — WR.

Read more on:    st lucia  |  upgrade

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