Kenyans have until June 2020, to give their input on the planned facelift of Nairobi National Park.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala in a statement on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, said the extension will go a long way in getting more views from different people.
The deadline for giving views was on Sunday, April 19, 2020, but the public uproar was too much for the ministry which may have inspired the extension.
“The public participation shall be extended for the public to raise their concerns or support so that analyses and improvement of the plan can be undertaken for the public interest,” Balala said in a statement signed by Ahmed Elmawi, the acting head of communications.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has a 10-year management plan for the only national park in the city. The proposals to make it more attractive are contained in the Kenya Wildlife Service’s Draft Management Plan 2020-2030 draft.
The draft has three proposals which include putting up a luxurious eco-lodge, a possibly electric fence to ward off predators and fencing off the park’s buffer zone in tandem with willing landowners.
KWS says the plan was inspired by 12 issues which have threatened the existence of the park since 1946 among them climate change, rapid urbanization, infrastructural development, pollution, mining, low visitation and increased cases of human-wildlife conflict.
Paras Chandaria, one of the concerned stakeholders opposed the move by KWS to seek public opinion on the facelift at a time when most of them are on lockdown.
“It is truly shocking and surprising that they have used this time to do public participation, when the whole world is going through the COVID-19 pandemic. It is practically impossible,” he stated.
In his opinion on initiating infrastructural projects at the park, he maintained that: “Many of these infrastructure proposals
will also be aesthetically unappealing in the park, despite its closeness to urban areas, NNP is relatively undeveloped and gives the feeling of being in a natural area with an urban wilderness feel.”
Friends of Nairobi National Park (FoNNaP) have also negated the planned facelift.
“We, therefore, ask that you stop the process of formulation and pending approval of this document until the current state of the country improves and we are no longer faced with restrictions due to COVID-19,” the FoNNaP said.