City of Mutare (COM) and Holiday Inn have partnered to upgrade the city’s welcome site situated at Christmas Pass.
“The City of Mutare welcome site located at Christmas Pass is undergoing a refurbishment exercise to restore and upgrade the aesthetic of the site,” eads a council statement.
The Welcome Site is situated along the majestic Christmas Pass meandering road with a six kilometers stretch.
The Christmas Pass gives a breathtaking bird view of the entire eastern border city.
Most travellers are captivated by its unique scenery and often access the Welcome Site for memorabilia pictures.
However, the local authority advised that the site will not be accessible to travellers during the upgrading period.
Rehabilitation of the site is expected to take two to three months.
“The upgrade of the site has been made possible courtesy of the partnership between City of Mutare and Holiday Inn.
Holiday Inn retraced the designer of the site and contracted the same to work on the refurbishment,” it said.
Part of the upgrade involves use of stone work in drainage system with contours already done.
Over the years the site has been affected by erosion resulting in the loss of captivating flora and aura.
“Part of the works involves restoration of the garden fertility and during the upgrade the existing plants-letters will be uprooted and replanted again.
“The scope of the works needs to take place between two to three months.
“By the completion of the works, a pathway will be created to protect the site,” further reads the statement.
However, though the plan has welcomed, it has attracted some criticism.
Residents feel that the position of the Holiday Inn billboard at the site is an eyesore that spoils the beauty.
“I personally do not believe that any billboard should be on this site or obstruct any view of our city from Christmas Pass.
“If this is allowed, what is next?
“We happen to be the most beautifully situated city in the country.
“Why on earth are we billboarding over this natural beauty?” questioned Lynne James.
Another resident, John Chinyai said, “please don’t play with our minds, remove that undesirable billboard, it’s an eyesore.
You are spoiling a beautiful place.”
However, others like Andrew Ziyera were of a different opinion.
“I don’t see anything wrong with the billboard, especially in its new state.
“At least Holiday Inn built Gimboki Clinic as part of its social responsibility programme as compared to others with billboards across town but have done nothing for the city,” sad Ziyera.
However, the local authority also indicated that the erection of the billboard by Holiday Inn was done in compliance with all set processes and procedures.