By Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – Walvis Bay plans to lay the foundations for 30 000 plots to construct 40 000 new houses by the year 2030, the same year Namibia aims to have become prosperous and industrialised.
To achieve this the town will need at least 2 000 hectares of land that willl see the development of about 90 townships.
This also translates into the establishment of at least 33 primary schools, eight secondary schools, four police stations, 20 day-care centres and 10 clinics by the year 2030.
This is according to the newly approved Walvis Bay Integrated Urban Spatial Development Framework that will be key in the transformation of the town to an industrial city.
The framework was presented to residents during a series of meetings held last week by the Town Planning Division of the municipality.
According to the Walvis Bay town planner, Hilia Hitula, an independent study indicated that Walvis Bay’s population will double by the year 2030 as the town’s growth rate is currently estimated at 4.7 percent.
“This is relatively higher than the national growth rate that is measured at 2. The population of Walvis Bay could reach 181 722 by the year 2030 and in order to create housing we need to plan ahead,” stated Hitula.
Judging by the current pace of economic development, including industrial and housing, and future port expansion, planning ahead is a key requirement considering the impact such growth would have on roads, water and electricity supply as well as sewerage systems that could become insufficient in the long run, she said.
“Rapid urbanisation is a phenomenon observed by many countries, particularly in Africa. Namibia is no exception, and nor is Walvis Bay, where urban growth has been overwhelming through the years. Walvis Bay has become a national node resulting in increased in-migration as well as internal population growth due to increased employment opportunities,” she said.
She noted that land will also be allocated to Namport for future expansion, as well as to business sectors for other industrial purposes.
The town has a strategic location and Namport is considered to be the preferred port of choice in SADC.
This strategic advantage not only serves the rest of the country, but goes as far as serving all neighbouring landlocked countries.
According to Hitula some of the areas identified for the expansion of the town belongs to the government, but could be allocated to the municipality through land swopping or if permission is granted by government.
“Walvis Bay is earmarked to be the leading industrial town in Namibia due to its strategic location and transportation networks. Some of Namibia’s biggest national projects such as the coal power station, the harbour’s expansion, dry docking ports, oil refinery, water distillation plants, aquaculture activities etc. are envisaged within the boundaries, of the town,” she says.
The strategic planning of the spatial development is funded 80 percent by the European Commission and 20 percent by the Walvis Bay Municipality while consulting is done by Urban Dynamics.
The framework was presented to the community for their input before implementation within the next five years.