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Durban – Bellair Station – another rotting National Monument.

Bellair Station built 1899 – a National Monument.

Bellair Station, built in 1899 alongside Sarnia Road is an utter disgrace. The station building was declared a national monument but you would be hard pressed to know that. The  bronze National  Monument sign is missing, presumably in some Chinese  smelter. (I suggest the China link only because they also seem to be avid collectors of animal parts including rhino, lion and now donkeys.)

Perhaps our protection agencies can be somewhat forgiven for not being able to catch the culprits, however the neglect of this heritage site cannot be excused. The roof vent is broken, the gutters full of forest growth, ceilings broken and most of the windows smashed.

Perhaps windows and ceilings had to be smashed to provide ventilation and a ready fire escape, given the broken air vent. The only good that can be said about the gutters is that the forest therein, contributes to reducing the effects of carbon emissions.

 I suspect that there are very few funds available for such colonial structures when R350.000.000 (yes, that’s three hundred and fifty million rand), is spent on a Museum in Cato Manor, namely the Umkhumbane Cultural and Heritage Centre . Was this just another get rich quick project, that was overpriced ,not adequately supervised and awarded to an undeserving contractor? The mind boggles at the price of this unfinished structure. The museum had great merits but methinks many other agendas were at play besides culture. The old Umkhumbane Heritage Centre that had a more frugal offering was worth a visit, with excellent displays. Those buildings are  also however already showing signs of neglect.

Its mismanagement such as this that leaves little resources for maintenance. Is this deliberate and are we to eventually to become a heritage wilderness?

P.S At least on this visit, despite being closed, they had mowed the grass. Something to do with the recent bad publicity?

Bellair station – the disintegrating air vent and National Monument.

Countering carbon emissions – a new initiative?

Bellairs Station going off grid – another carbon emission initiative – no aircon required.

Bellair Station – National Monument – another green initiative.

Bellair Station – At least someone cares – the blinds are drawn.

 

Umkhumbane Heritage Centre – Cato Manor Museum – How long will this building last without maintenance?

Umkhumbane Cultural & Heritage Centre – great concept but not complete – R350m spent and still counting. No accountability here I’m afraid.

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