The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has finally agreed with businessman Sudhir Rupaleria on measures for safeguarding the ecological integrity of Lake Victoria while implementing the Speke Resort project at Kitubulu, Katabi sub-county, Wakiso District.
According to NEMA, the agreement followed the conclusion to NEMA’s satisfaction of the project design review and adjustments by Speke Hotel (1996) Ltd under the guidance of the authority, to address all issues that would compromise the integrity of Lake Victoria and the surrounding environment.
On 10th December 2021, NEMA issued a stop notice to the developer over breach of conditions in the Environment and Social Impact Assessment Certificate No. NEMA/EIA/11651 earlier issued to the developer by NEMA in 2020. 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 soil from the site.
In a statement issued today, NEMA refers to a meeting with the management of Speke Hotel (1996) Limited on 15th December 2021 to guide the developer on how to sustainably undertake the project. A number of subsequent engagements have since been undertaken including inspections and site visits by the NEMA Board, Environmental inspectors, the Environmental Police and the area Local Government.
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.
NEMA now says it has reviewed and finally endorsed the revised master plan and implementation modalities for the Speke Hotel Resort at Kitubulu. In addition to the revised masterplan, NEMA has agreed to the project with the following conditions that Speke Hotel (1996) Limited must adhere to going forward;
1. There will be no permanent structure erected within 20 meters of the water line to protect the shoreline from potential siltation.
2. There shall be no dumping of soil or other waste whatsoever into the lake during construction phase and implementation phase.
3. All waste must be treated on site in a cyclical manner. There will be no waste discharged into the lake even after treatment of effluent.
4. The water treatment plant must be relocated as far back as possible in tandem with the coordinates provided by NEMA.
5. The community should not be barred from access to the beachside of the Resort.
6. Speke Hotel (1996) Limited must install beach/shore line protection gabions before construction to prevent soil and debris from being deposited into the lake by surface water runoff during the construction phase under technical guidance of the Directorate of Water Resources.
7. 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.
8. 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 beach area in case of water recession and no infrastructure should be established in such area since it is needed for water fluctuation movements.