Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-The controversial N$8 billion Desert Rose project, expected to be constructed just outside Swakopmund, will go ahead as planned despite resistance from some environmentalists and concerned groups.
Governor of the Erongo Region, Cleophas Mutjavikua, during his recent state of the region address stressed the project is in full swing, despite opposition.
According to Mutjavikua, the regional leadership are still optimistic about the project that is expected to enhance and further promote tourism in the region.
However, the proponents of the project have been heavily criticised for the proposed plan, with some coastal residents arguing the project would disturb the sensitive coastal environment, as it would be a beachfront facility.
The proposed site is a 5km stretch of beach between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, commonly known as ‘Vierkantklip’, a very popular site for angling, walking, swimming and private functions. The proposed site is also within the protected Dorob National Park and indications in the past were that the area may be de-proclaimed and ownership transferred to shareholders of the project, or to the council.
The project is said to will create 5,000 job opportunities in the first five years and secure major international investment.
Mutjavikua noted a final environmental impact assessment scoping report had been submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for approval.
Desert Rose will feature a convention and exhibition centre with hotel facilities supported by secondary entertainment facilities, a shopping centre, office park, restaurants, low- and high-density accommodation, residential properties, a golf course and public beaches.
The project is being developed by Sand Rose Investments, whose shareholders include prominent businessmen Desmond Amunyela, Lazarus Jacobs, Nardo Sardinha and Paulo Coimbra.