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Naivasha waterfront project to proceed

Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui has confirmed that the development of a Sh520 million waterfront on Lake Naivasha is still on course.

Governor Kinyanjui stated that start of construction works of the waterfront whose design had received approval from the Tourism, Transport, Infrastructure and Housing as well as Urban Development and Public Works had been temporarily suspended following outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent rise in the Lake’s water levels.

Mr Kinyanjui said the waterfront to be used as the public entry point into Lake and which the national government would fund, would sit on a 50-acre piece of land the county owns.

“We are still working with the National Government to resume construction of a waterfront that will boost business on the shores of Lake Naivasha. The project will be one of the largest tourist destinations in Nakuru and the country. The county government will be complementing the funding by the national government once we establish that there is a need to add more money,” said the Governor.

Speaking to the media in Nakuru, Mr Kinyanjui added the mega project will be a major boost to the tourism sector, as it will attract both local and international visitors to the region as well as create job opportunities.

He stated that the waterfront will complement the Naivasha Industrial Park and the Naivasha Inland Container Depot within the Naivasha Special Economic Zone, in transforming the town into a major commercial hub in the East Africa region.

The project is also expected to enhance recovery of tourism and hospitality sectors in the Sub-County which took a severe beating from Covid-19 containment measures and restrictions.

The development also targets residents who troop to Naivasha, especially at the weekend for short visits. The waterfront is set to have hotels, recreational and entertainment facilities.

“The facility we are planning to set up will be huge. It will be a game-changer for the tourism sector in the region. It will offer visitors an opportunity to do conferences, weddings, birthday parties over the Lake. They will also be able to do boat riding among other activities in a serene location,” the Governor pointed out. Works on the project, he said, would take about 18 months to complete.

Naivasha has a rich history that dates back to colonial times. Most of the wealthy settlers lived in Naivasha and their penchant for a good life was evident. Even before independence, the town was popular due to famous personalities like Lord Delamere and his wealthy club of friends who lived in the fast lane.

Once associated with the odd news, the lakeside town of Naivasha has over the years shed the bad publicity and officials now tout it as a competitor to the coastal towns as developers put up tourist resorts.

The national government, through the Ministry of Tourism, is investing millions of shillings in rehabilitation of waterfronts in at least five counties to attract more tourists.

The other counties that will profit from the waterfront project are Mombasa, Kilifi, Malindi and Kisumu.

The government has completed the lavish Sh460 million Mama Ngina Drive Waterfront project in Mombasa.

In less than 10 years, Naivasha has morphed from a little floricultural and horticultural zone to a hub of tourism and a trendsetter in real estate.

Hosting a global event – World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally – highlighted the positive side of the town, also famed for its links to the making of a nation called Kenya.

Its popularity matches Nairobi and Mombasa as conference hubs. The town wields so much economic power in Nakuru County.

Not only does it house Africa’s largest geothermal power plant in Olkaria, it is home to famed Hell’s Gate National Park and conservancies that hold Africa’s near extinct species of herbivores.

By Anne Mwale and Charloth Chepkemoi

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