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Media Release: Mountain of jobs celebrated as path repair programme ends

Date: 4th September 2009

Hikers and visitors to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) will be much safer thanks to the repair of 253km of footpaths and the building of 5.8m boardwalks within the park.

Hikers and visitors to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) will be much safer thanks to the repair of 253km of footpaths and the building of 5.8m boardwalks within the park. The successful completion of the path regeneration programme was announced by TMNP at a celebration of delivery at the Wash Houses on Thursday, August 27.

The project, which began in 2004, cost R15, 5 million and was funded by the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme through the Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism.

It sustained work for more than 100 people from the townships surrounding the Park for five years. The recruits were organised into 12 teams of 10 people each. More than 70% of the budget was spent directly on training, wages, and transport for these teams - many working in remote mountainous sections of the 25 000 hectare park.

Another R5 million was granted to the project when it was extended by a year from 2007 to 2008.

Government public works funding provides for previously unemployed people from local communities to be recruited on short term-contracts, taught life and entrepreneurial skills and encouraged to form sub-contracting companies.

Work included repairing paths that had collapsed, or eroded, the elimination of duplicate paths and the regeneration of old “heritage” paths where the original stonework had begun to decay.

“Only material found in the park, with sandstone, shale and granite rock matching the local geology and timber milled from mature alien trees used to repair paths. This allowed us to spend 70% of the funding on community wages thereby building paths and building people - the workmen and women who repaired the paths,” said Park manager, Brett Myrdal.

The programme included routing paths around sensitive areas and building eco-friendly boardwalks over swampy ground and above the root mat of the indigenous forest floor.

“Thanks to government funding we were able to create a mountain of jobs for local people and make this unique urban park a lot safer for all our visitors.” said Myrdal.

A footpath maintenance plan is being implemented to enable TMNP to employ the three of the teams out of ongoing operational funds, to maintain the repaired footpaths by trimming the overgrowth and clearing the waterbars after heavy rains.

This will maintain national government’s investment into the mountain’s natural capital, preventing erosion and keeping paths safe for hikers and tourists.

Issued by:
HWB Communications on behalf of Table Mountain National Park

Inquiries:
Evelyn Holtzhausen, Tel: (021) 462 0416, evelyn@hwb.co.za

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