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December 10, 2018

Big Tree hotel shut down for encroaching the Indian Ocean

Lands executive Edward Nyale at the site of collapsed Big Tree restaurant that encroached the ocean. /JOHN CHESOLI
Lands executive Edward Nyale at the site of collapsed Big Tree restaurant that encroached the ocean. /JOHN CHESOLI

The Big Tree Restaurant in Mombasa has been shut down after it encroached the Indian Ocean.

Part of its building had also collapsed. Lands executive Edward Nyale said a 14-day notice to remove the rubble elapsed on Friday.

“People have been injured by the loose rocks,” he said on Saturday at the site.

Nyale said the high watermark has since changed and moved closer to the permanent structures.

He said the bar section of the hotel is at risk of collapse.

“This is an issue of public safety. There is another hotel in Nyali that poses a threat to the public. It must be closed,” Nyale said without giving name, noting it will interfere with their operations.

He said the county has issued numerous improvement orders and notices and now it is moving to the enforcement stage where culpable managements will be prosecuted.

“For Big Tree, they will remain closed until public safety standards have been adhered to,” Nyale said.

But the hotel management denied it had encroached, saying the structures are within the boundaries. The executive said access to the beach has been blocked.

He noted because of the change in the sealine, some hotels unwillingly invaded the water.

As a result, Nyale said there has been erosion that rendered some structures nonoccupiable. “Our resolve as county is to protect the interests of our citizens. Where we feel their safety is threatened we shall move in and act accordingly,” he said.

The closure follows another construction storm that has since sucked in Deputy President William Ruto.

A search on the Nema web portal has revealed the environment agency allowed Weston Hotel to extend Dolphin Hotel’s construction into the Indian Ocean.

The extension of the hotel in Shanzu, Mombasa, was approved under reference NEMA/EIA/PSR/6347.

Weston Hotel, which made the said application, is owned by Ruto, who has been on the spot for building it on land belonging to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

KCAA executive director Gilbert Kibe said the plot on Lang’ata Road in Nairobi is among hundreds of parcels that it wants to reclaim.

Dolphin shot to the limelight on Wednesday when two Nation Media journalists were roughed up for recording operations around its construction.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s administration has started a probe on beach encroachment by the project in Shanzu. The owners of Dolphin Hotel have been accused of flouting building regulations.


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