The Grand River North West (GRNW) Rehabilitation Urban social forest project, aimed at re-creating a forested area at GRNW which will bring much expected societal, environmental and economic benefits to Mauritius, and, necessitating an investment of Rs 15 million is due for completion by December this year.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, made this statement during a site visit together with the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Alain Wong, yesterday at Grand River North West to take stock of progress achieved with regards to the rehabilitation project. Such projects,he underlined, which is unique in its kind must be encouraged and replicated in other regions across Mauritius. This will in turn help promote ecotourism and protect the environment and conserve biodiversity while enhancing the quality of life of the citizens, he pointed out.
According to the Minister, the region of GRNW holds a very special and unique place in the history of Mauritius as it is a site which in fact positions our rich culture to the forefront. There are no less than five major architectural vestiges of the historical past of the island, he recalled. These include: the Vagrant Depot, Old Bridges, Martello Tower as well as other historical buildings which are awaiting to be valued due to their contribution to the development of the country.
GRNW Urban social forest project
The project will span over an area of 30 hectares from Sables Noir to Martello Tower and an upstream touching up State land Jasmin covering land ecologically categorised as beaches, estuaries, riparian lands, deltas, and ranges from alluvial soils, to marshy and muddy lands.
The objectives are to provide recreation sites for visitors in terms of nature treks, social gatherings, water sports and sightseeing with a network of tracks that will link sites of cultural and historical importance. The fragile ecosystems of the estuary and riparian zone, through the project, will be protected from pollution, abandonment and invasive species and the planting of native plants will also promote native biodiversity that are unique to Mauritius.
The project will comprise the following features: walking track along the waterline along a length of around 2km; petanque court; Wharf; outdoor gym; endemic forest; network of tracks connecting all the historical sites around the area; an existing fruit grove which will be upgraded and which is being maintained by a community in Sable Noir; trekking network of some 5km; and, central area of recreation to act as the focal point of the whole project area.
It is expected that these different components will help boost the economic activities in the region and promote the livelihoods of people around the area in terms of ecotourism and cultural tourism.