When my family and I arrived in Pietermaritzburg in January 1984, we moved into a house in Flemmer Place in Hayfields. Our children grew up whilst we lived there and we could not have wished for better. There were only six homes in the Place and so for the kids, it was an extension of our garden. As such it was extensively used for playing tennis, karting and biking. I had no idea who our councillor was. I suppose I did not need to know, as everything in the neighbourhood always seemed to work. I do recall that the mayor was Pat Rayner.
In 1999 we moved to Warwick Road on the opposite side of Pietermaritzburg. Warwick Road is off Town Bush Road, so I suppose it should not have come as a surprise to find that the verges, gutters and unoccupied properties in Warwick Road were not as well kept as they were in Flemmer Place, Hayfields. So much so, that I took to the street to clean up a section of the verge that was not bounded by occupied properties, and which I had to traverse on an almost daily basis as I walked down the road with my dogs, before escaping into the adjoining plantations.
During that time I walked in the plantations in the vicinity of Warwick Road extensively. I am sure that areas covered by these plantations would be better to walking if they were still covered by the original undisturbed indigenous flora. I am also sure that the plantations have resulted in a degree of degradation in terms of the environment. That not withstanding, I enjoyed walking there and I should also say that I have also marvelled at the manner in which these plantations are maintained. On the ground (at the grass roots) the work is done by teams or workers, that if I am not mistaken, are sub-contractors. To this day they never fail to impress me with the quality of their workmanship and their work ethic. It also always left me thinking, "Why can't we privatise the bulk of the services that the Pietermaritzburg Municipality is struggling to provided?".
By the time I retired in 2009, we had moved to the top of Town Bush Road. By then almost all of the gutters, drains and verges along Town Bush Road were also starting to look as if they needed attention. Once we were settled there the family adopted a small section of the roadside just beyond the bridge under which the "Cascades" stream flows. On 1 January 2010, I officially started my retirement by taking a bike ride from the Chatterton Road traffic circle, up to the top of Town Bush Road, stopping regularly to photograph aspects of the roadside that concerned me. You can see these photographs together with relevant comments here.
In my retirement I have also taken to riding my bike as a form of exercise and recreation. I have even gone as far as riding the AmaShovaShova and the Argus Cycle Tour. Participation in these events requires some training and so I do a fair bit of riding in and around Pietermaritzburg. On some of these rides I take my camera along to record whatever interests me along the chosen route. This has resulted in what I call my PICPMB Cycle Tours You will find links to these tours on my homepage. After that digression and more to the point, here you will find more recent Town Bush Road photographs and commentary that includes Councillor Ryder's trashed pedestrian barrier.
In 1984 I had no idea who the councillor was that represented the municipal ward that I lived in. I am sure you would not be surprised to learn that I now do know who the councillor is that represents the municipal ward that I live in. He is Dave Ryder and he is actively engaged with the community as he constantly tries to improve the lot or the residents living in the ward he represents.
For me one of the most obvious and "deserving of comment" changes that Dave was responsible for when he started out as a councillor, was the barricade fence that was erected along the median in Town Bush Road in the vicinity of the Taxi Rank opposite Grey's Hospital. He did not deserve to see it trashed.
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