UNDP funds wetlands rehabilitation at Seychelles' popular cultural heritage site

General |Author: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | July 7, 2024, Sunday @ 08:00| 2905 views

As part of the rehabilitation, new types of mangroves and fauna that can adapt to the area will be introduced to Domaine Val de Pres. (Seychelles Nation)

The wetlands area at Domaine Val de Pres in the eastern Mahe district of Au Cap will be transformed into an educational living laboratory and viewpoint as of April 2025.

This will be done by the Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council (SNHRC), which received a $50,000 grant from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to continue rehabilitating the wetlands area found on the property.

Domaine Val des Pres is one of the three heritage sites managed by the SNHRC and one of the most visited cultural sites. It comprises an authentic traditional Creole homestead, the Pomme Cannelle restaurant, and several kiosks selling arts and crafts.

The 12-month-long project was revealed to the local media on Wednesday morning, during a site visit by the project consultant from the UNDP and SNHRC representatives.

"We want to rehabilitate the marsh found on the property so that the community and the tourists who visit here can have a space to observe and understand our natural heritage," said SNHRC's executive director, Benjamine Rose.

As part of the rehabilitation, new types of mangroves and fauna that can adapt to the area will be introduced to Domaine Val de Pres. Additionally, visitors will also have the use of a long boardwalk with rails starting inside the Domaine De Val Des Pres area, with a small bridge leading to a small bird-watching viewpoint.

There will also be large display boards showing information of all the species found in that area.

SNHRC is also including Au Cap Primary School's Environment Club, Tourism Club and Heritage Club members in the project, who will benefit from an exploratory learning experience.

The project's consultant, Errol Renaud, revealed that work on the site began two years ago, bringing together the Au Cap community, Maison Marengo restaurant, which is nearby, and SNHRC for an eco-tourism project.

To kick start the rehabilitation project, an expert will carry out a  biodiversity assessment to determine the wetland's health, the amount of pollution it has and what species are found there. This will be used to guide the developers on their next step.

Renaud explained that all precautions were being taken to ensure "minimal disruption to the ecosystem when building the boardwalk to the biodiversity area which will also double as a bird-watching area."

He said, "We have involved the Department of Environment and that of Planning since the pre-planning phases."

Renaud said they are working with the District's Administration office to find someone to care for the marsh where it starts on the neighbouring housing estate to create a sense of ownership.

Meanwhile, UNDP representative, Lindy Bastienne, said the organisation was interested in funding the wetlands renovation as "it helped diversify the types of projects that we fund. Since we had already started some work on the marsh with the community, we welcomed the fact that SNHRC wanted to expand on it."

Tags: Domaine Val De Pres, Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council


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