BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost) – The recent President Peter Mutharika endorsement that the historical Njamba Freedom Park in the commercial city of Blantyre be turned into a stadium is total blunder the leadership has made against proper Land-Use planning.
The yet to be constructed stadium at Njamba park just lies about a ten minute drive from the nearly abandoned Kamuzu Stadium in the city.
This just vindicates the leadership’s ignorance of Land Use Planning Principles that demand evaluation needs and want of the population, characteristics and value of the land, and various alternative solutions to the use of a particular land surface before changes are made.
The economic and personal needs of the population are central driving force that requires land-use decisions to be made.
The unique quality of a particular portion of land surface such of Njamba Freedom Park however prevent some uses, poorly accommodate others, but are highly suitable for others not the stadium, the way the authority is advancing.
For instance, the floodplain besides a river is unsuitable for building permanent structures, can easily accommodate recreation including parks, the Njamba is positioned, useful as nature preserve not a stadium.
However, the difficulty in making land use decision, in a manner the Mutharika government has done, is going through process of evaluating the each piece of land and deciding which of several competing uses to assign to.
When land-use decisions are made, the decisions process usually involves the public, private, landowners, developers, government, special interest group and among others.
Each interest group has special needs and will argue biased their desires, the way Mutharika and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lead government has resorted on Njamba into a stadium.
Mutharika with his backroom staff on this proposed stadium at a historical place, he could study carefully on international land use principles including;
• Evaluate and record any unique geographic or biological features of the land.
• Preserve unique cultural or historical features of Njamba Park.
• Conserve open space and environmental features
• Recognize and calculate the cost of additional changes that will be required to accommodate altered land use
• Plan for mixed housing and commercial uses of land in proximity to one another
• Set limits and require managed growth with compact development patterns
• Encourage development within areas that already have a supportive infrastructure so that duplication of resources is not needed.
None of the listed land-Use principles was followed by Malawi government when proposed Njamba for a stadium which vindicates the need for land commission, the body which could have the mandate to sanction such developments.
I wish this project could be stopped which does not really serve the public interest on conservation of historical features that future generation will appreciate.
But all foundation for the construction of the stadium at Njamba is at advanced stage that only legal redress can rescue the site.
As just hours before the New Year, 2018, Malawi government should always thorough get understanding of the environmental principles that saves nature for the better.
The Environmental Close Up column will continue providing insights that govern environmental management as creator demands us all to do.
We are wishing a wonderful and Prosperous HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2018.
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