Walkway between the slipway and Sharpie Road, Fisherhaven

The walkway from Sharpie to the slipway in Fisherhaven needs a little tiding up, aliens removed, and some trimming of the Fynbos. (Originally published 19 Nov 2018)

A proposal for creating a boardwalk along this pathway was proposed, Botfriends had problems with this proposal and the exorbitant capital cost proposed to be spent (over R200 000). Botfriends forwarded a letter to the authorities in this regard and a more realistic proposal was accepted and put in place. The Bot Challenge about R10 000 for 25ha.

Pathway through Fynbos
Clean indigenous from the walkway between Sharpie and the slipway in Fisherhaven
View from the pathway after clearing

The following is note that was circulated

Walkway from Sharpie/Riverside to the slipway area in Fisherhaven

Botfriends would like to make the following comments about the walkway from Sharpie/ Riverside to the Slipway area. It was maintained that an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) was not required for small improvements to the walkway. But a structure to be built along the pathway will require an EIA to be done, and the builders are unlikely to get approval. The building of a boardwalk will, in itself, cause considerable damage to the very environment which the simple pathway was designed to appreciate.

The building of a boardwalk along an almost perfect path, established many years ago and primarily maintained by the wild horses who use it, will have a huge impact on the Fynbos only now recovering from previous mismanagement.

Any trail should be constructed to minimise impacts on nature, while opening up previously inaccessible areas. The well-known Fynbos trail in Gansbaai is used by young and old, and, even on river crossings, consists of strategic natural tree poles to assist walkers; only on steep sandy erodible banks are boards used to halt erosion from the foot traffic.

The horses are unlikely to use the boardwalk and will probably establish another path, running parallel to the boardwalk – this is most undesirable when considering that most of the pathway is for people to enjoy the quiet and the serenity of the Fynbos.

Considerable money and effort has recently been spent on clearing invasive species from this area.

Boardwalks such as at Rooisand are established over marshy areas and areas with periodic flooding. Boardwalks do infringe on the natural environment and should be avoided wherever possible. I have walked this Fisherhaven path once a week for the last two years and have never had much problem with flooding.

It is felt that the FRA has misled Botfriends as to their intentions with this pathway, and probably the rest of the village as well. Who wants it? And who will in fact use it to any great degree?

The cost of a boardwalk is exorbitant (and the price has now just doubled, over R200 000). The money could have been used to remove every Port Jackson and maintain an invasive-free environment for the whole of Fisherhaven.

Michael Austin

Chair Botfriends

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