The construction of the proposed N$2 billion waterfront development around Windhoek’s Goreangab dam is finally underway, following a six-year negotiating process that was marred by numerous delays.
These deferments led to diminishing expectations among the locals, who were eager to tap into spin-offs, like job openings, during and after the construction.
Their hopes have since been restored if developments during this publication’s recent visit to the project’s site come to fruition.
The cleared site is a hive of activity, with part of what is to become the extension of the Independence Avenue – running through the development and over part of the dam – clearly demarcated and under construction.
This project was mooted by Green Building Construction Namibia (GBCN), a subsidiary of Sakawe Mining Corporation (Samicor), with 76 percent ownership by the Leviev Group of Companies in 2013. However, the venture’s take-off was dogged by bureaucratic process and other cadastral practices that had to be adhered to.
“In August 2018 we finally handed the venture over to the contractors and we are currently approaching the completion of about 51 percent of the first phase of the project,” GBCN Director, Kombadayedu Kapwanga told this writer at the project site this month.
He further hinted that construction works by their very nature cannot be rushed as a result of the need to ensure that quality in the different stages of construction are adhered to diligently, but stressed that the project is on schedule.
Reverting to the factors that may have led to the delay in the construction of the township – which will be known as Goreangab Extension 5 – Kapwanga revealed that GBCN was also dissatisfied with the initial location of the entrance to the development.
“The entrance was not appropriated because we were going to enter the Waterfront through Evelyn Street and that road gets congested. Thus, we decided to enter the Waterfront by extending Independence Avenue to pass directly through the development and create two more entrances,” Kapwanga said.
It is the same factor that necessitated the group’s decision to initiate the extension of Independence Avenue from the cross-junction with Otjomuise road, past the Puma Goreangab Service Station, before making it a four-lane boulevard that runs through the development and over the dam, into Matshitshi road, in Goreangab Extension 4.
“The extension of the Independence Avenue and the construction of the bridge across the dam are at our costs, as a tradeoff that the City of Windhoek develops Kowas Street, along which the northwest border of the Windhoek Waterfront Development runs,” Kapwanga revealed. The construction of the extension of the Independence Avenue is currently underway.
Council further approved the relocation of a 66KW powerline which runs through the proposed area. The proponents were required to foot this bill. The latter, according to Kapwanga has been adhered to
“By the middle of next month, the electricity lines will be switched off and moved to an alternative line that has been constructed for that purpose,” he said.
After numerous deliberations, the City Council, eventually, resolved to approve the proposed area for the development under its Special Projects Policy. This area constitutes a residential zone of approximately 83,490 square meters, a general residential area of up to 132,513 square meters, a total institutional area of 8,704 square meters as well as a total business area of 79,370 square meters. Additionally, a total undetermined area of up to 8,179 square meters was also zoned into the area, along with a total municipal area of approximately 3,567 square meters, private open spaces covering 20,298 square meters and a total street area of 167,632 square meters. Kapwanga maintained that in their quest to turn the township into a smart residential area, a lot has been considered, in terms of security and development plus the inclusion of green technologies such as solar streetlights.
“For example, we are going to have fiber optical lines installed for each house, Wi-Fi will be available for all residents and panic buttons and security cameras will be erected along the roads to ensure the security of the residents,” Kapwanga said, adding that while the starting price of N$1 million per unit might be frowned upon, “the resultant peace of mind will be well worth every penny.”
“Our quest is to create a commendable living environment for young professionals, in a secure but not limited community. We believe that affordable is not always supposed to be ugly, as such our houses come complete with landscaping and paving,” he said further revealing that the overall budget for both the landscaping and paving alone, stands at N$30 million and N$10 million respectively.
The project’s proponents promised that by December this year they will have 10 show houses, through which the future homeowners will place their orders for their ideal homes.
“This is just to show our commitment to the promise quality land and house delivery,” Kapwanga emphasised.
Another recommendation by the City of Windhoek was that no development should happen beyond the high-water flood line of the Goreangab dam.
According to its proponents, the project is expected to create about 4,000 jobs - some permanent and others temporary - over four years. The second phase of the project is expected to commence in March 2020.