The Mole to remain as is
An application by a local company for land along and at the end of the promenade in Swakopmund was turned down.
29 April 2019 | Local News
An application to lease land for development along and at the end of the promenade at the Mole was shot down by the Swakopmund municipal council.
Tidle Wave Investments Eleven (TWIE) presented a proposal on 12 August 2018 to lease 4 200 square metres of the Mole and 1 000 m² of the parking area adjacent to the Strand Hotel. The company’s aim was to develop small shops and restaurants along the promenade, as well as an entertainment area at the end of it.
TWIE is a 100% Namibian owned company mostly involved in the tourism industry and consists of previously disadvantage Namibians.
It also proposed to widen the walkway, improve it with street furniture and construct a new boardwalk.
No information on the anticipated cost of the development or rental amount was proposed.
According to TWIE, tenants at the envisioned development would create approximately 30 jobs.
The company said private and public sectors would benefit and the long term relationship would make future developments faster with positive economic and social impacts.
The development would also boost income for council, contribute to annual remittance on rates and taxes and boost the tourism sector.
The application was turned down by council’s management committee.
The engineering services department referred to the public objections made last year about the new and extended hotel blocks hindering direct access from the Arnold Schad Promenade to the seawall along the Mole basin.
The proposed shops would form an extension of this barrier and block the view from the parking area.
The department said that a row of kiosks and vending stalls will commercialise the atmosphere. In addition, extending the existing walkway over the ocean below the high water mark requires government approval.
Furthermore, the parking area to the west of the hotel parking area is regularly flooded by spring or high tides. Proposed components of the development would add further strain.
With regard to the stability and maintenance of the Mole it was pointed out that there was no empirical survey on the settlement process. This was confirmed by land surveyor Christo Pieterse.
The rocky seawalls and structures are in fact sinking. Increasing the load by allowing more structures to be built or placed on the rocks, will accelerate the settling process estimated to be around one centimetre per year.
In addition, the Mole enjoys the highest possible rating (Grade A) for historical structures in Swakopmund. Any development must be submitted to the National Heritage Council for evaluation.
The proposed area is zoned as a Beach Area. All such areas should be accessible to the general public and not be privatised. These are areas where people can relax and they also contribute to the number of visitors to Swakopmund.
The 30-year lease period was also a bone of contention. The public would be deprived of accessing the beach area for that number of years.
Other applications to develop the Mole point have been turned down by council in the past.
The first, on 29 May 2008, was to permanently moor a fishing boat at the end of the Mole with the intention of operating a coffee shop. This was turned down due to the construction of the new Strand Hotel and the unattractiveness of mooring an old fishing boat at the Mole.
Another application, on 31 May 2011, for the construction of a 360 degree restaurant at the point of the Mole was not granted because beach areas must remain accessible to all.
Council had also resolved not to permit any private development on municipal land.