Construction of hotel near Virunga National Park halted

The Government has stopped the construction of a five-star hotel by Serena Group in the buffer zone of the Volcanoes National Park, as demanded by environmentalists.   Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, announced this, yesterday, as he toured development projects in Musanze District.
Pierre Damien Habumuremyi
Pierre Damien Habumuremyi

The Government has stopped the construction of a five-star hotel by Serena Group in the buffer zone of the Volcanoes National Park, as demanded by environmentalists. 

Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, announced this, yesterday, as he toured development projects in Musanze District.

It was announced that instead, an alternative land be provided to the investor within a minimum of 800 metres from the park for conservation purposes.

The construction of the hotel on 21 hectares of land on the edge of the park had received resistance from the conservationists, arguing that the hotel may pose a big threat, especially to the endangered mountain gorillas.

The Premier was accompanied by a delegation of five ministers in an effort to learn and address challenges to the area’s advancement.

They included James Kabarebe of Defence, Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba, Marcel Gatsinzi  ofDisaster Management and Refugees, and Energy and Water state minister, Emma Francoise Isumbingabo.

The delegation visited a site where a Rwf 600m, modern market in Byangabo trading centre will be constructed.

An official from Rwanda Local Development Support Fund, (RLDSF) said money had already been disbursed to the district account.

To check threats of disastrous floods from the Virunga Mountains within the surrounding sectors, of Muko, Busogo, it was decided that a team led by the Ministry of Disaster Management, together with the district officials, find equipment to expand the drainage system.

“We are giving these committees up to one month to address these problems,” Kabarebe announced.

At Eco-park Buhanga, a historical tourist attraction site in Nkotsi sector, it was agreed that the problem of the local residents who have encroached on the land be addressed by expropriating them.

“All Rwandan traditional kings were brought to this site for initiation, they were bathed in this water. These trees were planted by the kings. Nobody ever touched them, whoever tampered with them died immediately,” Joseph Hategekimana, explained to the ministers about the historical site.

In her remarks Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, Executive Secretary of Rwanda Environmental Management Authority ( REMA) said every development should be carried out with consideration of its impact to the environment.

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