[ADDENDUM – THE MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED TILL FURTHER NOTICE BY KENHA – BUT THE BELOW FACTS STILL STAND]
On July 3rd – there will be a public hearing at KWS headquarters in Nairobi for the “Proposed provision of Southern Bypass Road Transport Corridor on Land currently designated as part of Nairobi National Park.” We would like to take a moment today to share with all of you the essential facts – which are as follows:
- A NET ruling in 2013 stopped construction of the Bypass Road in the contentious area between Ole Sereni Hotel and Carnivore Restaurant where the bypass road was planned to encroach into the park. It, further, directed NEMA to comply with both substantive and procedural provision of law in supervising any future EIA processes for the area under contention.
- In July 2014, the cabinet approved and directed that approximately 38.8 ha of Nairobi National Parl should upon completion of relevant procedures, cease to be part of the park. The park would be compensated by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure – acre for acre
- In Ocober 2014, a joint Inter-Ministerial team determined that the proposed degazettement would take too long and that an easement agreement between KeNHA and KWS be entered into (easement is provided under the land act 2012).
- There is a proposal now (sanctioned under Section 38 of the WCMA 2013) that allows for acquiring and exchanging private land with a portion of Nairobi National Park land.
- The total park area that would be affected by the Bypass alignment is approximately 89.1 acres, with a monetary value of Kshs 2.7 bn.
- The area will affect home ranges of wildlife in the park as will noise during construction, pollution post construction. Existing infrastructure built illegally on the road reserve has already impacted this area of the park.
- Field surveys have been carried out by KeNHA and KWS to identify parcels of land south of the park, suitable for wildlife conservation. Approx 380 acres have been identified which house a lodge, and three large residences.
- 264 acres of this identified land is already leased by KWS and being used for wildlife conservation. The lease is for 25 years and approximately 20 – 21 years still left on the lease.
This newspaper article outlines some arguments for and against this easement. http://www.eturbonews.com/…/southern-bypass-through-park-fa… The diagram shows how the bypass will curve through the land to maintain distance from Wilson Airport. The Southern Bypass is one that many in Nairobi have been waiting for – it will improve traffic flow and ease congestion (supposedly) but we must also remember that we will be doing so by setting a precedent – by saying it’s ok to illegally build on a road reserve if it’s next to a national park – we will just take that land from the park. Also remember that initially there was no intention by KeNHA to mitigate this issue by providing alternative land parcels to the park. We thank ANAW, EAWLS and Paula Kahumbu for appealing the NEMA license given in 2011 and bringing this issue to the fore. We want you all to read the facts above and come to your own assessment as to what the way forward should be. In our opinion, at the very least the park should be compensated before any construction starts with appropriate land of the same value as the land that is being taken – at best, we should raze down those illegally constructed buildings and right some wrongs. Either way, the Southern Bypass will be built…how much it affects Nairobi National Park depends on how much we care for our heritage….