By Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – The Walvis Bay Council allocated N$134 million for the development of at least 2 335 erven in the town.
The Chairman of the Management Committee, Wilfried Immanuel, last Thursday tabled a N$314,6 million operational budget for 2014/2015.
Expenditure is N$317 million against a deficit of N$2,9 million.
The 2011 census report revealed that 32 percent of residents in the Erongo Region live in shacks.
In Walvis Bay 43 percent of residents have decent housing while 31,5 percent live in shacks.
Walvis Bay also has a problem of shack fires and in the last incident 200 people were left homeless and at least one person died.
According to Walvis Bay Mayor, Uilika Nambahu, the largest share of the capital budget was set aside to service land to mitigate the huge demand for affordable housing.
“We have seen to our great dissatisfaction how people’s lives and properties were lost due to shack fires. The focus of our budget, and given our collective resolve to address the housing shortage and the need for land, is one of the critical issues. Residents also expect that an intervention in this regard be crafted to respond to calls for the availability of affordable and humane shelter by servicing more land,” Nambahu explained.
For the 2013/2014 financial year council allocated N$120 million for land development and four tenders to service land were awarded to two construction companies owned by local businessmen.
The land is expected to be ready next month.
Earlier this year the public relations manager of the Walvis Bay Municipality, Kevin Adams, said there were close to 27 000 shack dwellers at the town who are all hoping to secure proper housing in the near future.
On Thursday the council also allocated N$27 million for community projects that will see the construction of an old age home, a community centre in Narraville, a new taxi rank and satellite fire station, a municipal accounts office in the Tutaleni area, industrial stalls in Kuisebmond and campsite facilities at Dolphin Park.
A total of N$37 million will be spent on the construction of new cemeteries in Narraville and Kuisebmond, tarring and paving the town’s streets and building a tourist walkway from the Esplanade to the southern harbour gate of Namport.
Council allocated N$20 million for the upgrading of water and sewer infrastructure.
A total of N$13 million was budgeted for the replacement of municipal vehicles while N$17 million was set aside for smaller individual projects below N$500 000.