VANDALISM at the Baden Powell scouts camp in the Burman Bush Nature Reserve was discussed at a meeting with the city’s Parks officials at the reserve last week following the tragic murder of Simon Millikin on Friday, 31 August.
Speaking on behalf of the Scouts at the meeting, Garth Kloppenborg said the BP Camp based at Burman Bush had in the past been used to deliver outdoor activities for Scouts, but had been systematically vandalised leaving only the shell of the buildings standing.
Addressing Parks officials, he said overseas funders had committed to rebuilding the campsite and had invested in security fencing around the area. However his concern was whether security would be available to ensure the campsite would be protected.
“We can’t have a campsite which is vulnerable to attack. This is very serious,” he said.
After visiting the site last Thursday, Berea Mail spoke to Steve Camp of the Scouts movement.
Camp said it had taken about a year for vandals to destroy the structures on the campsite. It had been left in its current state for about two years. According to Camp, the BP Camp was of huge historical significance to the movement which had leased the site from as far back as the 1930s to be used as a training camp.
“About 10 years ago a German couple visited the camp and spent about two weeks there. They fell in love with it. They said when they had funds available they would assist in restoring it. Around four years ago we had plans drawn up and submitted and work started on the building. However, when builders got to roof height they were thrown off site. That is when the problems started,” he said.
He said a man was arrested after breaking into the hall and was let off as it was his first offence. Equipment was moved off site but the buildings were vandalised. “It was a free for all. Copper pipes were stolen, the windows were stripped, roof sheeting and rafters were stolen and a whole container was lifted off site. Initially it seemed like it was opportunists, but when it continued we suspected an inside job. I contacted the municipality and was told someone would look into it, but nothing was done,” he said.
To restore the site will cost about R6 million, according to Camp, who said the funders were still committed and building on the site would start at the end of the month.
“It will be done in three stages over a period of three to four years. We will start by restoring the hall and camp site, then the second phase will include the other hall and kitchen and the third phase will see the refurbishing of the hostel and training centre,” he explained.
He confirmed a fence would be erected around BP Camp to secure it.
Do you want to receive news alerts via WhatsApp? Send us a WhatsApp message (not an sms) with your name and surname to 060 532 5535.
You can also join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have signed up for our news alerts you need to save the Berea Mail WhatsApp number as a contact to your phone, otherwise you will not receive our alerts