Namibia: Swakop's Mole Development Still On

The N$260 million residential and business development planned for Erf 4747 at Swakopmund's Mole beach is still on the cards.

This according to notices informing stakeholders in local newspapers.

The is Environmental Compliance Consultancy (ECC), which is tasked with applying for an environmental clearance certificate on behalf of the developer, Lighthouse Property Investment Trust, says the public participation process started when the first advertisement was published in August last year.

Another advertisement was published in October 2020.

John Simpson, project manager of Lighthouse Property Investment Trust says the development is continuing without Jimmey Construction, which was the developing partner, but is currently facing serious cash-flow challenges.

"They are not involved with the project now and we have informed the municipality accordingly. Lighthouse Property Investment Trust is now handling the development," Simpson says.

The proposed development will be located within the heritage area of Swakopmund, and will be built where the old indoor swimming pool used to be.

Several developers have tabled grand proposals for this prime site over the years, but had to contend with a community striving to preserve Swakopmund's historical and cultural image.

For the past four years, the current developer's design has undergone much tweaking.

A petition to stop the high-rise development at the initial stages garnered 2 150 signatures a few years ago, which was handed to the Swakomund Municipality.

Significant alterations included the reduction of the development's height from 40 m to 30 m, and the removal of a proposed second lighthouse feature set to be in close proximity to the existing lighthouse.

The community felt the development's former bulkiness, which has been softened now, would infinge on the existing quaint surroundings of the beach.

"The name Sur la Plage (French for 'on the beach') was also scrapped because of negative connotations that had developed during the process. Once the project is given the green light, we will go through another formal naming exercise. For now it is just erf 4747," Simpson says.

The municipality approved the new development in June last year, which was then submitted to the National Heritage Council.

Simpson says the council's feedback is expected soon.

An environmental impact study was launched in the meantime.

The developers believe the development will add value to the Mole, which is a tourist hotspot.

"The new development will expose tourists to the Swakopmund ocean view experience and local activities...It will also generate income for the municipality, as well as establish an additional source of income for a portion of the local community," the developer in a statement says.

The development will include accommodation with an ocean view, shops, restaurants, a wellness spa and fitness area, a 'green' space and a children's playground.

Temporary and permanent jobs will also be created, the developer says.

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