Visitors Stephen Bourhill, from Australia, and Lucia Sagasti, from Argentina, reach the 100m mark on the uMhlanga boardwalk. The steps will be moved as the platform is extended. Picture: Duncan Guy
Visitors Stephen Bourhill, from Australia, and Lucia Sagasti, from Argentina, reach the 100m mark on the uMhlanga boardwalk. The steps will be moved as the platform is extended. Picture: Duncan Guy

Crowdfunding in the forest

By Duncan Guy Time of article published May 1, 2021

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Durban - A 100m milestone has been reached in uMhlanga. That’s how far the new wheelchair-friendly boardwalk made of recycled plastic planks and poles, which will one day be a kilometre long, has come.

Construction started in November and it carries on as donations come in.

“We’re waiting for the next sum to come through,” said Melanie Rosettenstein of the uMhlanga Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP).

A couple of days after its launch, one person handed the venture R25 000 “off the bat”, she said. “It’s happening through crowdfunding. Little by little.’’

At this time of year, large and colourful butterflies are a feature of the forest at the northern end of the uMhlanga promenade.

A staircase, made of plastic, marks the 100m point from which walkers then venture on paths along the ground. The staircase will be moved as the wheelchair facility is extended.

The boardwalk will prevent further frontal dune damage, allowing for natural regeneration of degraded areas, unlocking tourism and employment opportunities and relieving congestion on the promenade, the uMhlanga UIP said.

“The long-term plan is to build an environmental education centre to host nature-based activities including guided walks, canoeing, a bird hide and children’s activities.”

The cost of the entire planned boardwalk is estimated to be about R6 million.

Walkers can donate using the Zapper print sign mark, displayed on the trail, or via the website https://umhlangauip.co.za.

The Independent on Saturday

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