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Tram’s reputation derailed

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Kimberley, a ride on the historical tram, has been cast a blight on by rubbish, public urinating and sewage, causing the tram route to be shortened.

“Sewage, overflowing from a manhole, flows all along the tram line – sometimes spattering against the people on the tram,” a tram driver says.

“The tourists are also disgusted with men who urinate in public, next to the tram line.”

The tram ride, commencing at the Kimberley Mine Museum, is especially popular with tourists and other visitors to the Big Hole. The route used to go all the way to the City Hall.

Currently the tram stops nearly halfway, just before the informal taxi-rank and the part where sewage is flowing over the line. This informal taxi-rank was formed years ago after the closure of Bultfontein Road.

Although the closed road was blocked with fixed kerbstones, it was partly broken to give access to vehicles – resulting in a taxi rank where commuters, drivers and assistants answer nature’s call next to the fence of the Big Hole and the tram line. Litter is also seen on both sides of the fence.

To give a bit of sparkle back to the Diamond City, a clean-up action commenced on Friday (07/02) on the corner of Green Street and Bultfontein Road to clean the area along the tram line. This forms part of the clean-up campaign launched last year by the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

Representatives of the local tourism office in the Frances Baard District Municipality were supported by members of several departments in the municipality.

In a press release, the mayor of the municipality, Patrick Mabilo, said some members of the Kimberley Local Taxi Association also joined the campaign.

“We are all tourism ambassadors, and taxi operators are important tourism ambassadors who need to understand the importance of tourism and keeping our city clean,” Mabilo states the press release.

“They need to advocate to the commuters to refrain from throwing litter out of vehicles, but rather use a plastic bag made available in the taxis.”

Mabilo also requested local tavern and bottle store owners to encourage customers to always use bins or keep plastic bags in their vehicles and to not throw empty bottles and cans from their vehicle windows.

He said moving forward, further engagements would be undertaken with the taxi associations to ensure that these taxis were moved to an ideal parking place.

“This will help with eliminating the dirt and reek experienced by tourists and locals along the route.”

According to Mabilo the municipality is reviving the concept of “Business adopt a pavement” as a collective effort to keep the city clean.

“We are happy to have engaged businesses and the community to join the campaign and to ensure we send a message to everyone not to litter and to always use dust bins to keep our society and roads clean.”

He promised this was not an “once off” activity.

“The plan is not only to grow, but all relevant departments will be requested and required to maintain the tram route and ensure a favourable state of the route to provide a positive experience to tourists.”

Among other tasks, the traffic department will repaint the road surface markings along the tram route to alert motorists of the tram, and the infrastructure department will fix the traffic island on the corner of Green Street and Tucker Street and fill the potholes on the road along the tram route.

“We appeal to the community to teach each other the importance of keeping the city clean,” Mabilo said.

Thoko Riet, a spokesperson for the municipality, says constant awareness on cleaning up and the basic principle of “do not litter”, is important.

“If we understand tourism, clean is understood. We have to reclaim the confidence tourists had before,” she says.

  • Read about Kimberley’s illegal dumping issues on p 2.
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