Lagoon blues

Published: Sunday 15 September 2002

The Walvis Bay lagoon is at the centre of a stormy debate between the town's tourism development council and conservationists. The former wants to develop a restaurant-coffee shop-tourism centre near the water body to "enhance the city's attractiveness as a tourist destination". But the Coastal Environmental Trust of Namibia (cetn), a non-governmental organisation, points out that the proposed centre would spell the lagoon's doom.

Matters came to a head recently when the council gave a green light to an entrepreneur to advertise the sale of a portion of the land. cetn chairperson Keith Wearne has warned that no development should take place close to the lagoon -- a haven for millions of water birds and a feeding station for those inhabiting the shores.

According to Wearne, implementation of the proposal would drive the birds away from the area and damage the ecology of the region. "Giving the go-ahead to the scheme may pave the way for more projects along the lagoon front. We want water there, not mud with cafes sprouting from it," he points out.

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