Watamu Marine Association, Kenya: Managing Kenya's premier beach resort.

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Blazer Watamu Ltd , Blue Lagoon,

Environmental Welfare , Watamu

Cave systems undermine the headland supporting the development Building work is clearly within the protected reserve area. Waves crash over development site Tide out, development work encroaches on Marine Reserve Sewage from the development would have been a health risk to local bathers

A landmark victory for coastal communities holding back a wave of unscrupulous property developers.

In 2007 a property development company was granted approval by the government agency, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to build 26 holiday apartments and villas on a 1.5 acre headland in the protected Watamu Marine Reserve. The development posed a serious threat to the marine environment and was opposed by the local community, environmentalists and neighbouring hotels.

Sustainable and quality commercial development at the coast is very much welcomed by local communities and the tourism sector as a necessary boost to local economies. However an increasing number of developers and foreign investors are taking advantage of the lack of planning and zoning regulations in Kenya resulting in uncontrolled and unregulated commercial developments threatening the environment and destroying the natural beauty of Kenya’s world famous coastline.

WMA members decided to take legal action and appealed the decision of NEMA in an effort to preserve the Watamu coast. The appeal was made to the National Environment Tribunal (NET). The Environmental Management Consolidation Act 1999 helps protect the interests of “the man in the street” and communities to create a level playing field in the face of potentially more powerful and wealthy property developers.

In March 2009 after an 18 month long battle the case was won by WMA on all grounds of appeal. This victory has given Watamu and other coastal communities hope and confidence in the knowledge that unwanted commercial developments can be challenged and the wishes of the community upheld. ( see below for further information on the judgement.)

However since the original judgement against Blazer Watamu, a new application has been made to NEMA for a new development. WMA and other conservation groups have made representations based on the the NET findings opposing the plans. NEMA is expected to rule on the application in the next few months.


WMA NET Appeal against Blazer Watamu Ltd

WMA claims were numerous including:

The Tribunal found in favour of WMA.

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CONTACTS
WMA Chairman, Steve Trott
email stevetrott@watamu.biz
web http://www.watamu.biz/
tel +254 (0)42 2332261 (0) 721 275818

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