Pelican Point: Lighthouse in the spotlight
Concern is growing among stakeholders in the country’s tourism industry over the development of a lodge in the old lighthouse building of the Pelican Point peninsula by a Belgian national, Dirk Maes. Maes, who has been doing business in Namibia for a number of years, is renting the complex from the Namibian Ports Authority.
But tour operators are of the opinion that Maes is not only occupying Namport’s building and that his lodge development would instead also cover land around the lighthouse which is technically part of the Dorob National Park and not under Namport’s jurisdiction.
The second concern is that Maes apparently originally started the development together with a Namibian family but has since acquired all their shares, making this project now a wholly foreign owned business entity.
Rumours that Maes had applied to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for the entire Pelican Point peninsula as a conservancy for his exclusive use could not be confirmed.
According to the Namibia Coast Conservation and Management Project (Nacoma), the peninsula forms part of the Dorob National Park which was proclaimed earlier this year.
Nacoma’s Rod Braby, however, confirmed that the line is still blurred between State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) occupying land in the park prior to its proclamation. In the case of Namport, it occupies the land on which the lighthouse is situated, but the proclamation of Dorob would actually make all land fall under the jurisdiction of the park and, by implication, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
According to Braby, Maes may have a rental agreement with Namport but now also needs to lodge an application with the ministry as the custodian of the land. Braby said he could not comment on whether Maes has done so and what were the requirements.
Informanté was referred to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism but by the time of going to press it was not yet possible to obtain any specific information.