Sh230 million Malindi upgrade starts despite input concerns

Project includes upgrading of road, building new drainage system and setting up a recycling plant at the Malindi dumpsite

In Summary

• Project includes carpeting 800 metres to bitumen standards. Some stakeholders complain of lack of public participation on change from cabro to bitumen.
• Road to connect key areas, increase business; drainage to eliminate flooding.

A Sh230 milllion world bank project to upgrade Malindi kicks off amid concerns from stakeholders

The tourism resort of Malindi is getting an upgrade after a Sh230 million World Bank project began this week.

The project includes tarmacking the Barclays Bank-Mtangani Road, building a new drainage system and building a recycling plant at the Malindi dumpsite.

The road works have started, paving 800 metres to bitumen standards. It was supposed to take six months but the contractor has promised to complete it in four months, the project manager said.

Some stakeholders complained there was no public participation, citing the change from attractive cabro to less costly bitumen.

A letter seen by the Star written by the Malindi Progressive Welfare Association demanded a copy of the board minutes concerning the type of road planned, the initial budget and all relevant information.

The letter signed by Kate Mwilkali and addressed to the Malindi Municipal Board chairman Aliasgar Kassamjee said they wrote to the CEC for Roads to be furnished information.

Engineer Hatmi Nurein, who is in charge of the road project, said they designed the road for bitumen tarmacking for Sh67 million.

''I know there is the drainage issue and I am going to take care of it with two cross culverts, one 900mm and the other 600mm," he said.

Nurein said the project will  be ready by early November.

Malindi town Manager Silas Ngundo said the project was a big breakthrough for many businesses along the road.

During the rains, stormwater floods a section of the road, inconveniencing residents and visitors. The Paradise Hotel and Surahi Restaurant are seriously affected.

''Many visitors do not go to hotels because of the flooding but the project will change business for the better," Nurein said.

Apart from restaurants, hotels and hospitals, the area has many residents who work in town where more business opportunities will open because of the new road.

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Malindi business community approved the project, calling it transformative.

Majid Swaleh, the chairman of KNCCI Kilifi county, said the project is popular because it connects the central area, Mtangani route and Ganda Road.

"Once it is tarmacked, new businesses will come up," he said.

Majid said some stakeholders complained about the way the carpeting was changed from cabro to bitum without clear public participation.

The owner of Premier Guest House and Cottages in Malindi who also owns a hotel along the road said the key problem is drainage.

''We have suffered for too long. Guests' vehicles used to get dirty driving along flooded roads," he said.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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