… As oil storage facility, W&B shopping centre is mooted for town
By Elvis Muraranganda
AN oil storage facility, massive industrial developments, increased office space for retailers and wholesalers, a vehicle assembly plant, solar farms, a steel manufacturing factory, as well close to 400 residential plots, are some of developments mooted for the railway town of Usakos, in the Erongo region.
The Usakos Municipality confirmed to Confidente this week that it has leased a two hectare piece of land to private company, MDL, for N$2 000 a month, with the option to buy the plot for an oil storage facility.
Prominent Namibian retailer and wholesaler, Woermann & Brock, is also set to open a shopping centre at the town.
Usakos Mayor Akser Mwafangeyo said this week that the perception that the town is growing at a snail’s pace was wrong, while stressing that this was far from the reality on the ground.
“A lot has been happening here. Developers have been approaching the town for development. There is a shortage of serviced land, but we are in a process of entering into public-private partnerships (PPPs) with developers,” explained Mwafangeyo.
“Through these PPPs, our partners will provide plans and designs, and service residential plots, before developing housing. This will allow people to buy plans and land.”
The municipality is negotiating with TransNamib, which owns huge tracks of virgin land in Usakos, there since the establishment of the town in the 1900s.
The town has since independence seen minimal development and is often treated as a drive-through, on the way to the coast.
“The olden day Usakos was a workshop and watering station for locomotives and a certain percentage of land is still owned by TransNamib, in an area now called Bo Dorp. The council does not have any open land there,” Mwafangeyo said.
“We are currently engaged in negotiations with TransNamib for the council to acquire this land for residential purposes.”
He added that the municipality has also identified another area called Extension 2, where 120 residential plots have been earmarked for planning, surveying and servicing, through PPPs.
“At the Old Location, we have built our new administrative block, and the area will be used for mixed development, which includes upmarket residential and business developments, also through PPPs.
“At the Erongosig township, we have serviced residential land; some of it has already been allocated to people. There are about 16 plots that are serviced, and are ready to be allocated for occupation,” Mwafangeyo said.
“With all these initiatives, we are looking at providing close to 400 residential plots, including those through the PPPs.”
The mayor stressed that currently, residential plots range in price between N$9 000 and N$25 000, which is the municipality’s way of meeting residents halfway.
On other developments at the town, Mwafangeyo noted that Usakos only houses “pockets” of shops, which do not cater for all the residents and their needs.
“Most of the residents go to Swakopmund, Karibib and Windhoek to do their shopping. The council has availed land to Woermann & Brock, to put up a shopping centre on a prime piece of land, close to the road and next to our administrative block.
“The area is further reserved for businesses and offices. The land was bought by the Ministry of Urban and Rural development from a private person for N$2 million last year.
“On this 15 hectares piece of land, we are expecting Erongo RED to setup a customer care centre; there are also other interested parties,” Mwafangeyo said.
“We are planning on attracting building material suppliers, because the residents have to travel very far, and it is expensive to get building materials from outside of town.”
Commenting on the industrial land availed to MDL, the mayor said, “They have already fenced off the area, and put up temporary structures for the storage of fuel. According to 3D presentations, they showed the council, they will park their oil tankers there, refill them and distribute the fuel across the country.
“In fact, MDL has already started the process of buying that plot. We will put it out for public objections and ministerial approval, before we sell it to them for between N$2 million to N$3 million.”
Mwafangeyo said that other proposals on the table include a vehicle assembly plant, a plant that will produce PVC pipes, solar farms, a steel manufacturing factory and another oil storage facility and truck port.
The council has also outsourced its abattoir and a swimming pool, and a plot on which a recreational facility will be constructed.
Usakos will soon advertise for a new chief executive officer and a technical manager.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015