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Horrific Development Opposite Mana Pools

(Environment Writer)

PROTEA Hotels plan to build a“ultra modern” 144-bedroom hotel on the banks of the Zambezi River in a wild area just upstream from the world-renowned Mana Pools National Park and World Heritage Site.

The proposal to build the hotel in the Chiawa Game Management Area on the Zambian side of the river, has shocked tour operators and conservationists in the region, and has been slammed as “totally inappropriate” for the area.

They say the proposed hotel,which will be by far the biggest in the area, is likely to scupper plans to have World Heritage Status extended to the Zambian side of the Zambezi.

Sources say that 12 of the 15 traditional leaders in the Chiawa region have signed a document opposing the buidling of the hotel, while three abstained.

The hotel will consist of a central lodge, conference centre and six double-storey blocks of rooms. There will be a moorings on the river for boats and a parking lot to take 40 vehicles.

It will be built in area which has already exceeded the government’s recommended number of hotel beds.
The hotel on the site of the former Donatini Camp, about 12 km from the Lower Zambezi National Park.

Grant Cumings of Zambia, vice chairman of Conservation Lower Zambezi, the size and nature of the development was inappropriate for the site.

“That model has proved successful for Protea Hotels in downtown Lusaka, but why put it in a wilderness? It will double overnight the number of hotel beds in the area, which are all operating at less than 50% occupancy, so it not like there’s a huge market waiting to go there. And they’re not coming in at a cheap price.

The hotel footprint is big, it will have a big visual impact, right opposite the World Heritage Site of Mana Pools,” Cumings said.

Derek Chittenden, a Zimbabwean living in South Africa and an environmental planner, said the hotel proposal, said the proposal “flies in the face of all sound planning principles".

“If this goes through, it’s the beginning of the end for that area. It will have a huge impact on the Zimbabwean side, yet neither the Zimbabwean national parks or the government - or even Unesco - knew about the proposal,” Chittenden said.

Protea Hotels Zambia is 97.5% owned by Union Gold and 2.5% by Mauro Guardigli, an Italian living in Zambia. The group operates under the Protea Inns and Hotels (Pty) Ltd franchise of South Africa.

Because the ecosystem is regarded as fragile, the company has had to conduct and environmental impact assessement (EIA) prior to approval.

Mark O’Donnell, a Briton living in Zambia and chairman of Union Gold, said yesterday he believed the hotel was appropriate for the area.

Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal should email: snsongela@zamtel.zm

Comments for Horrific Development Opposite Mana Pools

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Apr 16, 2010
Protea Back Down?
by: Mart Botha

Protea Hotels has apparently made the decision to withdraw their Application for the proposed development in the Lower Zambezi Region.

Whilst this is a victory for Save Mana Pools at this time, it would be remiss of me not to highlightthat until such time as it is officially announced, and press releases are issued that
are comprehensive and to our entire satisfaction, that I am not yet 100% convinced of their sincerity. After all they need to protect their investments in Zambia and ?there are many ways for Protea to skin a cat?.

At this time I urge that you let your conscience be your guide.

Thank you one and all again for standing up for your principals and for adding value.
I will communicate again shortly.

Have a profitable day !

Apr 16, 2010
Mana Pools
by: Mart Botha

I was on the verge of singing Protea Hotel?s praises and stopping the boycott,even urging vociferous support for them.

HOWEVER after much consideration, and having taken it under advisement,it is my opinion that Protea Hotels have no intention of ?shelving?
their plans for a development in the Chiawa Game Management Area at Mana Pools in Zambia. Although they have indicated a ?stay? in their plans by withdrawing their application, I believe this is
only temporary and that they will pursue a return on their investment in Chiawa sooner than later.

Until Protea Hotels state categorically that they will not develop in the area commonly known as Mana Pools, I urge you to continue with
the boycott and with renewed vigour to garner more support for proponents who are against this development. If you have not yet done so and have connections in businesses such as banks who may use the services of Protea Hotels etc. please
contact them and urge them to join this boycott.
Protea Hotels are 'playing us'.

Once again, let your conscience be your guide.

May 21, 2010
Exploitors of African resources
by: Mats

grant Comings and all of you comenting on this site. I want to ask you who are you representing? why you white so racists. you finished your animals in europe now you are forming cheap groupslike conservation societies for who? when no single local person participates. shame on you all who are just thieves and have come to rob our natural heritage. We have been conserving our world for centuries who are you to come now and tell us. we know you have exploited the locals the resources and the tourist who come. But your time is up we will ensure you do it in South Africa with your racism

Jun 01, 2010
Not a racial issue
by: Tony

Mats I fail to see at all why this is a racial issue, it has nothing to do with race at all. Why are you so racist? the people lobbying behind this campaign are only interested in protecting the natural resources for everyone. Its so sad that you see it that way, and until we can see beyond colour Africa has little chance, but fortunately not every thinks like you.

Nov 15, 2010
Controversy over lodge proposals in Mana pools
by: Wild zambezi

The cash-strapped Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has asked stakeholders to ratify four new 24-bed lodge developments for Mana Pools, three of these along the eco-sensitive river frontage and one inland. This comes less than a year after international outrage at Protea Hotels seeking to develop a 72-bed conference facility on the banks of the Zambezi River right opposite Mana Pools National Park and World Heritage Site.

Conservationists and lovers of Mana Pools as a wilderness Park are up in arms at the proposals - for several reasons.
A recently-completed Park Management Plan, carefully negotiated and agreed between the Zimbabwe Parks Authority and relevant stakeholders, specifically advised against any new Park developments along the Zambezi river shoreline in Mana Pools because of the small size and very ecologically-sensitive nature of the Zambezi alluvial terraces known as "the Mana floodplain". It did, however, allow for small developments at selected sites inland.
The Management Plan acknowledges that Mana Pools is important for the unique low-volume, high wilderness tourism experience it offers visitors, and advises that these values should be maintained into the future.
Critics of the proposed developments believe that increasing tourism bed-nights along the Zambezi river frontage by an effective 72 people per night would bring associated impacts which would seriously erode the very values that the industry sends its clients to enjoy.
New developments in the already impacted "floodplain" area would, they believe, "kill the goose that lays the golden egg".
The Management Plan remains unsigned by the relevant Ministry, despite having been completed 18 months ago, a fact which has called into question Zimbabwe's true commitment to proper and accountable planning procedures for National Parks and globally significant areas like UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It is well known that the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority is short of money to manage its estate. The recent proposals have drawn criticism that the authority is seeking short-term quick-fix solutions to its financial crisis at the expense of the long-term future and sustainability of the country's magnificent wild areas.
Zimbabweans are being made to look foolish in objecting to Zambian developments opposite Mana Pools on the grounds of unacceptable tourism impacts while effectively increasing tourism impacts on their own side of the Zambezi River.

Feb 08, 2011
protea lower zambezi
by: Anonymous

May be late to comment on this.why no outrage on the zimbabwe development. Why outrage on the zambian developments.I smell envy by the zimbabwens.we have to revisit the protea issue plus road construction plus airport plus a tourism college for the locals. Zambia has money now, we will do all those developments.we shall call the chinise to build good hotels just like in beijing.

Jun 12, 2011
Copper mining for the Lower Zambezi National Park
by: I.P.A. Manning

It is on its way unless ye be vigilant

Jul 14, 2012
No New Lodge in Mana Pools
by: Lynn Crawford

Don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs by developing the area. The pristine and unique quality of Mana Pools will be lost forever if this hotel is developed and ruins the surrounding sensitive habitat.

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