WRA Chairman Don Goldfain said the Wilderness lagoon boardwalk urgently needs an overhaul. Pleas by WRA and by residents to have the popular but disintegrating lookout spot fixed before the December holidays were not heeded. Photo: Pauline Lourens
GEORGE NEWS - A scenic boardwalk on the shores of the Touw River and one of the main tourist attractions of Wilderness lakes area, especially for birders, has been in dire need of repairs since December last year. The tumbledown lookout point was brought to the attention to SANParks long before the start of the December holidays.
The boardwalk falls within the SANParks Garden Route National Park and is situated on the Wilderness lagoon. SANParks' maintenance team patched up the boardwalk, but failed to rebuild the lookout point/jetty section.
This week Nandi Mgwadlamba, regional communications manager SANParks Garden Route National Park, cited budgetary constraints and shortage of manpower as reasons for not carrying out urgent repairs in the disintegrating area.
Wilderness Ratepayers Association (WRA) Chairman Donald Goldfain said last week, "The jetty is a danger to the public and because this is an important tourist attraction, it deserves to be repaired as soon as possible. At the moment the broken-down condition detracts from the beauty of the walk which is an asset to both locals and tourists."
He confirmed that this issue has been brought to SANParks' attention on many occasions. Goldfain said wooden steps leading down from the Wilderness Beach Hotel and The Views Hotel are also in a ramshackle state.
Mgwadlamba responded, "Our financial year starts on 1 April and ends at the end of March every year. If the resident spotted a broken deck or bench in December, it should be in this year's maintenance plan. It also helps to locate where the boardwalk is as there are boardwalks on private property as well.
We also encourage residents to either phone reception or write to us when they spot such incidents. Our reception number for the camp is 044 877 0046. We have teams maintaining boardwalks and trails throughout the year and I'm certain the boardwalk is on the list for maintenance."
A detailed description and photos were sent more than a week ago, but Mgwadlamba stands by her comment.
The rickety boardwalk along the Touw River in Wilderness is a source of worry and embarrassment for many residents.
ARTICLE: PAULINE LOURENS, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST
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