Desert Rose Developer ‘Out of Touch’

SWAKOPMUND Matters says the Desert Rose developer is out of touch with reality regarding the beneficiaries of the N$8 billion project.

Desert Rose Convention and Exhibition Centre between Swakopmund and Long Beach will be, according to a draft environmental impact report, supported by many facilities to make it both feasible and user friendly.

The report also says the project will bring more hotels and entertainment activities, a shopping centre, office parks, restaurants, low and high density accommodation, residential properties, a golf course, public beaches and more.

“This should be a project for Namibians, unifying everyone as a nation who conquered,” the report reads, but Swakopmund Matters says it is ‘absolutely grotesque’ to present an ultra-luxurious complex with multi-million dollar facilities to cater for the super-rich.

“This departure point of the project’s proponents once again confirms that they are completely out of touch with reality – both on the ideal they are pursuing and the negative reception the whole project has and will continue to receive from the local community and other Namibians.

“This project does not have one basic ingredient to unify people. It will never have. It will, however, masterfully accentuate and perpetuate that which plagues Namibia – the great divide between rich and poor,” a circular issued by Swakopmund Matters on Sunday says.

It makes reference to thousands of Namibians within a 30 kilometre radius from the site who are struggling with poverty, and accuses the developer of incomplete documentation necessary for the eventual issuance of an environmental clearance certificate by the environmental commissioner.

Since the introduction of the Desert Rose plan earlier this year, there was a major outcry from the public because of the lack of public consultations regarding the needs and impacts of this enormous project.

Another major concern is that the project will be situated inside a highly sensitive environment in the Dorob National Park.

Swakopmund Matters said the draft report opened for public scrutiny last week left much to be desired.

“The quality of the presentation is inferior and reflects a hastily prepared document that is entirely inadequate. Page numbers are handwritten. Maps, images and photocopies are poorly reproduced. Some are barely readable. The scientific review was done between 24 and 26 June – a total of two days! Furthermore it is vague, incomplete and contains numerous inaccuracies and contradictions,” Swakopmund Matters argues.

Felecia Schoeman, legal aiser of Namibia Environmental Health Consultants involved with the project, declined to comment yesterday, saying there would be a media briefing next week.

The Namibian has learned from the Walvis Bay municipality that although the area in question falls within the Walvis Bay district, it is outside the municipal borders, and that they had resolved some years ago that the area between the northernmost part of Long Beach and the Swakop River would “not be accessed for development, due to its sensitive nature”.

The Walvis Bay municipal council were also allegedly not informed of the plans directly.

“As a matter of courtesy, it would have made sense to approach the Municipality of Walvis Bay as well,” said municipal spokesperson Kevin Adams. “The municipality will take this matter under aisement, following any decision by higher authorities.

Source : The Namibian