Waterfront Development Stalls

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By Surihe Gaomas SWAKOPMUND Residents and visitors to the coastal towns of Swakop-mund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay are in limbo as the Swakopmund’s Waterfront development project grinds to a halt. Henties Bay started with this project three years ago, but it still remains only plans on paper. On the other hand, Walvis Bay’s envisaged waterfront finds itself somewhere between the main shareholders of Nam-Port and the Walvis Bay Council. Shedding more light on the situation, Project Manager of the Swakopmund Waterfront Development Basil Smit said there is nothing he can do about the delay as many factors come into play. In a brief interview with New Era yesterday, Smit said the delay of over four months resulted in huge losses when the Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Housing took long to give him permission to use the quarry just outside the town. “We only got this application last month and we were ready to start already last year with the waterfront developments,” said Smit. Furthermore, he explained, the much-anticipated development along the Swakopmund coastline would only start in August this year, due to unusually high tides coupled with a strong wave current that could pose a risk. “It’s too risky to start now and we will have to wait and see until July whether the conditions are conducive for us to start with the second phase,” explained Smit, adding that the project is well on track so far. New Era also reliably learned that three other quarry ventures, namely Onyeka Construction, Dany Construction and Namibia Construction made written objections to the Swakopmund Town Council against quarry ventures on the utilisation of the quarry outside the town. The three construction companies are the current concession holders to the quarry. More concerns were raised about the temporary closure of the Waterfront Construction, as was the closure of certain streets close to the development site and consolidation of adjacent erven. Referring to this situation, Smit noted that there are numerous misconceptions in the market about the latest developments. “German business people are very jealous of this local project,” said Smit, adding that such initiatives are a great boost to the tourist popular town as well as the local economy in general. Since all three coastal towns are venturing into the same developments, fears amongst the public were that they might easily develop into white elephants as one delay follows another. Yet New Era was informed that the Swakopmund Waterfront initiative that will cost around N$450 million would be different from those of the other two towns. The Swakopmund venture will have a luxury yacht marine basin, as well as a harbour that can cope with the frequent incoming boats from Europe. The first phase of the housing complex is completed already, at a cost N$100 million, while the second is anticipated to start in August this year. Meanwhile, Walvis Bay Municipality and NamPort are going to set up a massive waterfront development project in due course, also amounting to N$450 million. The area is located on the western side of the harbour town, where the municipal sports field, angling club and ski-boat club is situated. According to the development plan, a very unique tourism and recreational facility as well as housing units will be erected on the premises. The Walvis Bay municipality over the years has prepared itself for its own waterfront that now finally looks set to take off. The reconstruction of the area will cost N$250 million, while N$100 million has been set aside for developing the harbour facility, and a further N$50 million will go into the development of the waterfront initiative. Public Relations Officer of Walvis Bay Municipality Utaara Hoveka confirmed that the two parties had close working relations on the subject that was approved by the town council. If all three projects develop into reality, Namibians and its visitors can look forward to much enjoyable times along the coast.