Ilanda Wilds has seen a hive of activity along Isundu Road where members of Amanzimtoti Cycling Club (ACC) and Amanzimtoti Sports Centre (ASC) are spearheading a clean-up and rejuvenation operation, largely funded from the Toti Conservancy grant.
Master track builder and assistant bottle washer, Barry Walker, the ACC chairman, has achieved nothing short of a miracle, as rotten wooden poles and a delapidated jungle gym were removed and replaced with proper concrete bollards.
The ‘parking area’, markedly scattered with the spoils of empty bottles and vulcanised articles that resemble sleeping bags for mice, was largely reduced to an effective size, thereby opening up a larger grassed area along the river bank.
New signage has been installed, so that residents are able to identify both walking and cycle trails that tie into the established operation on the opposite western bank.
The area around the Shaka Stone, spearheaded by the Durban South Business Chamber and driven by ward 97 councillor, Andre Beetge to the point of being unveiled by the then deputy minister of tourism in 2013, has been cleared and declared more user-friendly.
The granite plaque, installed by Toti Granite, was, however found vandalised. Local traditional leader Inkosi Nathi Maphumulo expressed both disappointment and concern when this was pointed out during a recent visit and he in turn committed to place the matter on the agenda at traditional council.
“The continued apathy of council’s natural resources department that is actually responsible for the upkeep, has reached the point where the community has stepped up in an effort to render the area more open and accessible, thus enlarging the park’s footprint. Further to which it aims to attract more people to the area to assist our effort of eradicating crime and grime,” said Cllr Beetge.
One of the ongoing problems to keep the park in user-friendly conditions is the fact that the natural resources department is in charge of the Ilanda Wilds side, while the parks department undertakes the cleaning of the ASC side of the river. The continued struggle to get either department to take ownership of their section has led to the ASC and ACC taking charge and doing it themselves.
Another ongoing problem is residents dumping their refuse in the park. Some R80,000 was spent from the ASC’s coffers last year on labour to clean the park. As such, residents are welcome to help with donations by utilising the Zapper printed on the sign boards around the park.
The Toti public is invited to use the trails for walking their dogs, running or cycling but no motorbikes are allowed and users must clean up after themselves.
The October 2017 storm destroyed five of the 11 mountain bike bridges around the park but these have been repaired by Barry. They will be showcased when the ACC hosts an open day on Sunday, 3 June at ASC from 9am to 4pm. The fun day will also feature a jumping castle for the little ones.
Those who want to assist in the same or similar clean-up projects in the area can contact ASC secretary, Cathy Colley on 083-767-9471.
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