On Thursday, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) finally agreed with the Ruparelia Group under businessman Sudhir Ruparelia on measures for safeguarding the ecological integrity of Lake Victoria while implementing the Speke Resort project worth over Shs370bn in Kitubulu, Katabi sub-county, Entebbe, Wakiso district.
Last year on December 10th, NEMA issued a stop notice to the developer (Speke Hotel (1996) Limited) over a breach of conditions in the Environment and Social Impact Assessment Certificate No. NEMA/EIA/11651 which was earlier issued to the developer by NEMA in 2020.
The notice came at a time when the developer had commenced work without obtaining a lake shore user permit which is a legal requirement, and there were also concerns of siltation of Lake Victoria by the soil from the site.
After a series of meetings with the developer, on 29th April 2022, following NEMA guidelines to the developer for final review and readjustments in the project design to secure the lake from any potential negative impacts of the project, the developer submitted adjusted designs and revised project implementation modalities.
After reviewing their plan, NEMA finally endorsed the revised master plan and implementation modalities for the Speke Hotel Resort at Kitubulu, however, some conditions were put up that Speke Hotel (1996) Limited must put in place, to ensure that the project estimated at $100m (over Shs370b) goes ahead.
Among the condition include; barring the developer from erecting permanent structures within 20 meters of the waterline in order to protect the shoreline from potential siltation.
There will be no waste discharged into the lake even after the treatment of effluent. There shall be no dumping of soil or other waste whatsoever into the lake during the construction phase and implementation phase.
All waste must be treated on-site in a cyclical manner. There will be no waste discharged into the lake even after the treatment of effluent. The water treatment plant must be relocated as far back as possible in tandem with the coordinates provided by NEMA.
The community should not be barred from access to the beachside of the Resort. Speke Hotel (1996) Limited must install beach/shoreline protection gabions before construction to prevent soil and debris from being deposited into the lake by surface water runoff during the construction phase under the technical guidance of the Directorate of Water Resources.
No dredging of the lake is permitted under the first phase of the construction. The Marina establishment phase will undertake more in-depth studies to guide any decisions in that respect.
The land taken up by increasing water levels remains protected as part of the lake and no reclamation of the same should be done. Such land can be used as a beach area in case of water recession and no infrastructure should be established in such area since it is needed for water fluctuation movements.
Meanwhile, the project is reportedly estimated to cost $100 million (about Shs 370 billion) with 350 rooms, a convention centre and a conference centre with the capacity to host 3,500 guests. The project is currently at the stage of ground levelling.
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