Historic Run has become a neglected hazard, says Ferdie

A plea to end neglect of Jamestown’s historic back-street walkway – the Run – has been given full support by St Helena’s Legislative Council.

Councillor Cyril “Ferdie” Gunnell said pools of trapped water in the culvert were a public health hazard.

He called for the government to set up regular maintenance of the hidden path and other key tourist attractions.

Otherwise, he said, it could be become “something we used to have”.

He told fellow LegCo members he heard concerns about “the general lack of maintenance to the many tourist attractions and heritage sites that we should be proud of.”

He singled out the Run because it was an important element of Jamestown’s heritage.

As well as being used historically as a path up the valley – between The Standard pub and the hospital – its culvert is used to carry water from a pond at Newbridge. A sluice is opened daily at 06.30 to flush out the run.

It is now part of a dedicated walk to the Heart-Shaped Waterfall, but is not widely used because of safety concerns.

“I have already tried, unsuccessfully, for three years to get a Directorate to establish a regular programme of maintenance,” said Councillor Gunnell.

“On occasion contracts have been awarded to clear away growth. After a few months however the growth returned and the unsuspecting, would never know that cleaning had taken place at all.”

A daily cleaning arrangement was set up by chief secretary Andrew Wells, but given up because of budget savings. Litter picking – and removal of fallen branches and “household waste, namely fish” – did take place.

But the councillor said: “There is no routine maintenance at all.”

The roads department had started work on the Run but sedge was quickly growing back and no attempt was being made to poison the roots, he added.

He said there were several pools of trapped water, “which need to be unblocked very quickly if a health hazard is to be prevented. I had a look this morning and the largest of the pools is starting to smell.

“It is quite wrong that the Run can only be dealt with when men can be spared from work on the roads,” he said. “The Run is a tourist attraction and an important element of Jamestown’s heritage.”

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