A R 1.7 million pedestrian pathway project in the coastal resort town of St Francis Bay has proved a hit with the community, reducing incidents of crime on residents walking to and from work while upskilling previously unemployed youths and women from the area.
Before the new pathway linking the community of Sea Vista with the St Francis Bay CBD was built, the preferred pedestrian route into St Francis Bay was an often dangerous, bare earth track through the industrial area, which became muddy when it rained.
Local pizza chef Siyamthanda Adams, who lives in Sea Vista, said she used the path to walk to and from work – often returning late at night after her shift ended.
“The challenges which Sea Vista residents faced before the new path was built included being mugged and attacked en route to and from town, because the informal path was dark and surrounded by trees. It was really not safe,” she said.
“But ever since the new pathway has been developed, it has been much safer. There is even seating along the path where pedestrians can sit and rest when they come from the village. The beautiful mosaics are another luxury on their own.
Project manager Nigel Aitken said the need for a pathway was identified at a police sector meeting where problems with the informal pathway were highlighted.
“It was dangerous, not only because people were being mugged, but also because the path gets muddy when it rains and people slip,” he said.
“The community was involved every step of the way, including adding their own final touches to the artwork and landscaping that decorates the pathway.”