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Vacoas-Phoenix

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Vacoas-Phoenix is one of the five main towns in Mauritius and the largest town of the country. Vacoas-Phoenix is composed of two main towns, Vacoas and Phoenix.

Statistics

It has the fifth largest number of inhabitants. In geographical terms, Vacoas-Phoenix is the largest municipality of Mauritius. It is also the largest town in geographic terms. The town lies between Curepipe and Quatre Bornes in the western highlands region of the country, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Port Louis, the national capital. It was proclaimed a town in 1963 at which time it was joined with Phoenix. In 1968 it was raised to the status of a Municipality. The joint population of Vacoas-Phoenix is 103,564 (2003 census).
[edit] Vacoas

Vacoas acts mainly as the moving town with all development and enterprise works take and on the other side Phoenix is her sister. The boundary between Phoenix to the east and Vacoas to the west is Rivière Sèche, though other sources consider Avenue Père-Laval (officially Decaen Road) as the actual boundary. The promenade Père Laval is one the most beautiful places in Mauritius; it runs on the area between Decaen Road and Rivière Sèche. Though officially a walking trail, it has become popular with the locals as a place to play football. It is also a popular picnic spot with foreign Chinese workers employed at the nearby factories.

Both Vacoas and Phoenix consist of residential and commercial areas. The centre of Vacoas, that is the immediate area around Vacoas bus station, consists of a several old shops, owned mostly by Sino-Mauritians. Vacoas also boasts of its bazaar - vegetable market (active on Tuesdays and Fridays) and its 'Way' supermarket. The town has one of the most reputed girls' colleges, Dr Maurice Curé SSS. The rest of the town is devoted to residence, while the Gymkhana ground remains popular with joggers, football matches and military training. In addition, the Gymkhana has a special club for golfers.

While it used to be the driving force of the Municipality of Vacoas-Phoenix, Vacoas has now fallen behind its neighbor sister.

Vacoas holds its name from a plant whose scientific name is "Pandanus" and which was found in large quantities in this region. Formerly, the leaves of this plant were used to make the bags and mats.
[edit] Phoenix

Phoenix is one of the most industrialized towns of Mauritius: it has specific areas like Petit-Camp and Valentina where several industrial estates have been built and is known for its chic and glamorous neighborhoods and suburbs where the prime minister house is found.This has not gone without any problem, however: the factories have been accused of water pollution and have been under fire for their effects on the health of people. Recently, a textile factory had to be relocated because of complaints. Some of the remaining landmarks of the town's industrial estate are Phoenix Camp minerals, where Coca-Cola products and the local Phoenix Beer are bottled. Phoenix is also where we can find the monument of the town (a phoenix placing its claws over a pandanus plant) and the seat of the Industrial Vocational Training Board (IVTB). Shortly after he was named Minister for Education in 1997, Kadress Pillay decided to move his ministry's seat from the capital Port Louis to the IVTB building in Phoenix. Since 1994, Phoenix possesses a major shopping centre in the Centre Commercial Phoenix, whose main attractions are its hypermarket, its food court and sports store (Allsport).

In spite of the absence of any real bus station, Phoenix is well linked to the other urban areas. It is one of the major stops for the "162 Express" line that runs between Curepipe and Port Louis, and is also well connected to Rose Hill.

Apart from the Dr. Maurice Curé SSS and the IVTB, other major educational institutions in the region are La Visitation Roman-Christian Aided Primary School and Aryan Vedic Primary School in Vacoas, and Phoenix Government School, Aleemiah College and Sir Abdul Raman Osman SSS in Phoenix. In addition, there are now the recently built Vacoas SSS and Phoenix SSS that act mainly as junior secondary schools.

"Phoenix is a town of main importance, which bears the name of an ancient sugar estate now, of which only the souvenir remains.

This sugar estate was set up in 1846 at the merging place of two rivers. La Rivière du Mesnil and La Rivière Sèche, and was administered by Mr. Henry Barlow. The mill was disaffected in 1874 on account of financial depression and the building widowed of its machinery was destroyed by the severe cyclone of 1892." "Phoenix" is also a variety of palm tree cultivated in mild regions.

In 1968, when the Town of Vacoas-Phoenix was raised to the status of Municipality, the Council had to be provided with a Coat of Arms. In June 1970, the Council approved a sketch submitted by the College of Arms of London which was responsible for effecting the design, text engrossment and registration of the document. By the end of the year the Town was endowed with its Armorial Bearings and the motto "Copia et Concordia" meaning harmony and abundance assigned at it.
[edit] Suburbs

The town occupies many neighbourhoods. These are as follows:

*
o Phoenix
* Valentina: Semi-industrial and semi-residential area.
* Petit Camp: Semi-industrial and semi-residential area, heavily marked by the presence of Phoenix Beverages and Phoenix Camp Minerals.
* Riverside
* Highlands: Former sugar estate and now sparsely inhabited compared to the other areas.
* Belle Terre
* Camp Fouquereaux
* Hermitage: A minor terminus for some bus lines.
* Castel: Working and middle class neighborhood.
* Mesnil: An area with many little shops and sellers.
* St Paul: Working class area known for its church, which celebrated its centenary in 2006.
* Clairfonds No. 1, No2 and 3: Vibrant working and middle class neighbourhood, consisting mostly of storied houses with large families.
* Cité Palmerston: Situated just northwards of Phoenix government school, it is known as the area of the whole town with the largest concentration of manual workers. A branch of the municipal library as well as sports facilities opened there in late 1999.
* Rivière Sèche: posh area, bordering Cité Palmerston, with large houses running northwards alogside Rivière Sèche until Phoenix Commercial centre. Actually one of the striking features of Phoenix is the pacific coexistence between poor and affluent areas of the town; on weekends and public holidays, one can even see youngsters from Clairfonds 1 and 3, Rivière Sèche, Cité Palmerston and sometimes even St Paul playing football together at the Promenade Père Laval.
* Carreau Laliane
o Vacoas
* La Caverne: One of the town's major supermarkets, London Way, started there as a mere grocery. It is also the living place of former Prime Minister and current President of the Republic Sir Anerood Jugnauth and his family.
* Hollyrood
* Bonne Terre: This part of town, whose name can literally translate as "fertile soil", is home to many flower and vegetable gardens.
* Solferino
* Glen Park
* Henrietta
* La Marie: A sparsely populated area of crucial importance because of the presence of the La Marie filter plants, which makes water safe for usage for a considerable proportion of the population of Mauritius.

All these neighbourhoods belong to the municipality of Vacoas Phoenix which comprises many other small squares rounding to the whole town.
[edit] Landmarks

Other landmarks include: Palmerston Bridge in Phoenix (an old bridge by Mauritian standards), The 7th Day Adventist Church, the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre, old retail shops alongside the Royal Road in Phoenix; the new police headquarters, the Special Mobile Force headquarters and the Mauritius Meteorological Services headquarters in Vacoas.

Phoenix hosted the Fed Cup in tennis on the 17th to 20th of April 2007 and the European/African Zone Group II and Group III on the 23rd to 26th.
[edit] Symbolism of the coats of arms

* The arms

The voided Pall, the Y shaped figure, recalls the two rivers and their confluence and separation. The three roundels recall the fruit and vegetable marketing activities of the Town. The two green ones also serve to recall the two golf courses nearby. The Caduceus, the winged staff entwined by two snakes is, of course, a well known symbol for signalling establishments and in this instance alludes to the signalling base at Vacoas-Phoenix. The Phoenix at the top between the two bags of sugar is self-explanatory.

* The crest

The Mural Crown is indicative of the status as a Municipality. This heraldic charge, as far as Corporate Bodies are concerned, is nowadays reserved for Towns and Cities etc. The two Palm trees conjoined are those of the Vacoas and Phoenix variety

* The mantling

Which in this sketch only has the colours indicated follows the normal heraldic practice whereby it is tinctured of the principal metal (gold) and the principal colour (blue) of the shield.
[edit] Municipal Council

The original Municipal Council area which was 13.22 km2 has been extended to 54 km2 in 1991 by the annexing of areas such as Belle Terre, Camp Fouquereaux, Cinq Arpents, Highlands, Henrietta, La Marie, Glen Park, Petit Camp, Valentina, Quinze Cantons, Solferino and Hollyrood. The population which was 42,000 in 1963 has now reached about 103,000 with an estimated 30,000 households.

The Town of Vacoas-Phoenix has a cool climate which is very conducive for agriculture and also offers a very pleasant living environment. One can find vast agricultural zones in the Town area where sugar cane and vegetables are grown on a large scale side by side with residential areas which offer modern facilities to the inhabitants. The town has also known major developments in both economic social fields and several commercial and industrial zones have been established within the limits of the town.

The geographic position of Vacoas-Phoenix has induced numerous major firms and commercial enterprises, government institutions and para-statal bodies to settle in this region.

In fact, the town is easily accessible through the motorway which links different parts of the country including the airport and the harbour. The sole brewery and the first hypermarket of the country are found in the Town.
[edit] Salient features of Vacoas-Phoenix

Today, in spite of its industrial and commercial development, Vacoas / Phoenix can still be considered a 'garden town' given that it is the traditional supplier of vegetables and flowers.

Firms such as the Food and Allied Group of Companies, Phoenix Beverages Group, The CMT (Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile), Paper Converting Co Ltd and Gumboots Manufacturing Company as well as a firm of accountants and licensed auditors-Navy and Yan, are located in the town.

The the President, the Prime Minister and other important personalities are residents of the town.

The town also has major places of attractions some of which are:

* The Special Mobile Force Complex
* The Gymkhana Club
* Promenade Père Laval
* Clarisse House
* Jumbo Shopping Centre
* The Vacoas FairHare Krishna Land - ISCKON
* Les Sept Cascades
* Théatre Serge Constantin
* Pandit Sahadeo Gymnasium
* National Tennis Centre
* La Marie Treatment Plant
* The Mauritius Glass Gallery
* Phoenix Les Halles Commercial Centre

The following institutions are also found in the town:

* Mauritius Meteorological Services
* Central Water Authority
* Industrial and Vocational Training Board
* The Ministry of Education
* Special Mobile force
* Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture
* ENT Hospital
* CNT - Head Office
* The Ministry of Works
* Mauritius Red Cross

The Town of Vacoas-Phoenix is twinned with the "Communes de Ste. Suzanne" of Reunion Island, the town of Antsirabé in Madagascar, and the City of Pune in India.


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Created: Jul 1, 2010
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Irshaad AllyJaun Irshaad AllyJaun moderator 07/01/2010
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