Residents Win Wetlands Lawsuit

Residents Win Wetlands Lawsuit

Following a lawsuit filed by three residents of Syokimau, the High Court of Kenya on May 26, 2015 ruled against development of 360 Apartment Phase 2 on the wetland area unless the developer makes a provision for 10 meter water passage across the project.

Joinven Investments Ltd., the developer of 360 Phase 2, “is hereby restrained by way of a permanent injunction from further construction of a permanent wall and apartment blocks 15 and 18 until it constructs a water drainage channel on its side of the wall,’’ according to the ruling by Justice L.N. Mutende.

Despite the ruling, the respondents of the lawsuit, Joinven Investments, Municipal Council of Mavoko and the National Environment Management Authority are yet to embark on any actions that the court demanded while the petitioners have not received any appeal notifications so far.

The petition in the high court sitting in Machakos was filed by John Mutinda, Monica Kilonzo and Harriet Ngaruthi, acting on behalf of Oasis Park Self Help Group.

Syokimau Residents Association, through the legal committee headed by Isaac Omeke, has taken up the matter to ensure enforcement of the court ruling.

The committee has already written to the Water Resources Management Authority, the principal policy regulator on water issues, to ensure the Sabaki stream is properly managed by designing and ensuring a comprehensive plan is in place to open up the whole channel which will allow water to move freely.

The dispute dates back to May 2011 when Mavoko Municipality approved development of Phase 2 of 360 apartments and indeed stated the approval is subject to among other things, providing a 10 meter water drainage channel.

In September 2011 the Machakos District physical planning office objected to the project following an inspection that revealed that a perimeter wall around the project has blocked the natural water way that separates the industrial and commercial parcels of land in Syokimau. In addition to other violations, the inspection also revealed plans by the developer to divert the water passage to a road reserve.

By Eric Ombok

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