The restoration of the shoreline, or Marginal, will be the first step towards the “renaissance of the city”, says Vela VKE executive director Thomas Marshall.
With technical input from South African consulting companies Vela VKE and Prestedge, Retief, Dresner & Wijnberg, the heavily-polluted bay, which is the result of 25 years of sewage runoff and solid-waste pollution, will undergo extensive dredging to remove the sediment accumulation in the shallower portion of the bay.
The dredged material will be used to reclaim seven parcels of land around the bay and will include extending the shoreline along the Marginal to create public open spaces.
Additionally, reclaimed land will be used to provide better infrastructure and create development opportunities along the Marginal. These will offer space for private residential, retail and commercial developments overlooking the bay.
Traffic congestion in the area will also benefit from the reclaimed land. The design of the road infrastructure along the new Marginal has taken these concerns, as well as the future growth of the area, the potential for increased traffic and the provision for future public transport corridors, into account.
The first phase of the anticipated seven-year project, the public-works phase, will include the environmental clean-up, public-infrastructure development, land reclamation and development. Of the initial three main contracts, the dred- ging contract is currently out to tender and applications close at the end of this month. The contract is due to be awarded in the second week of July, with completion planned for December. The civil landside tender will close in November. Once the tender is awarded in mid-December, mobilisation is expected in January. This will coincide with the main dredging activities, which will be awarded in October, following tender applications, which open next month.
Completion of the $125-million public-works phase of the project is planned for the end of 2008.
Marshall emphasises the special attention that is being given to the environmental aspects of the project. The environmental-management plan will be monitored by specialist South African firm Coastal & Environmental Services.
In addition to South African environmental scientists being brought in to carry out extensive marine-ecology studies, disposal of pollutants from the bay will be carried out under strictly controlled conditions. Pollutants will be disposed of further out to sea and dispersed in such a way as to limit their impact on marine life. The removal of the silt will employ the use of silt curtains to avoid dispersal within the bay.
The consultants have used hydrodynamic model- ling to identify the effects of pollution and to map out future pollution scenarios. As a result, the improvement of the bay will include the dredging of a 100-m-wide channel around the bay to dilute potential pollutant spillages and to provide for a future marine public-transport system.
Social considerations have also featured in the project planning. The clean-up of the bay will improve the marine environment and will have a positive impact on the subsistence fishermen who depend on the bay for their livelihoods.
Marshall says that “getting private funding on board was one of the biggest hurdles facing the project”.
While the Angolan government supports the project, it will be difficult to justify the expenses that the project will incur in comparison to the other, more pressing, priorities that are depen- dent on State funding, such as food, basic services, education and healthcare provision.
As a result, the project is being financed privately, in return for long-term land-occupation concession grants from the Angolan government. Financiers will develop or sell the rights to the new land parcels being established.