Garages formerly operating in a designated wetland in Gatsata Sector, Gasabo District, have relocated to a new site.
The exercise, which took place last Saturday was organised by Icyerekezo Cooperative Society, an umbrella organisation that brings together 15 garages in Gatsata.
Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), in collaboration with Kigali City, had previously given the garages up to last October to have moved to the new site following the demarcation of the wetland.
Speaking to The New Times, the president of the cooperative, Moses Buhinja, said all members of the cooperative have moved to the new site located just behind the Gatsata Sector headquarters, adding that spare parts dealers would soon follow.
“I am happy that all the garages which have been working around Gatsata wetland have relocated. This is a big achievement and the next step now is to begin the construction of a modern garage that will cost about Rwf 6 billion,” Buhinja said.
He said the management of the cooperative was in negotiations with a number of banks to raise the funds, adding that they were in the tendering process to identify a construction firm to put up the garage.
Buhinja said the cooperative bought the two hectare site for Rwf 380million adding that the construction would be completed within two years.
Established in 2008 with about 30 members, Icyerekezo Cooperative presently boasts a membership of over 100.
“We are optimistic that relocating to this new site will enable members of our cooperative to make more profits unlike before because the new site can accommodate many vehicles” Buhinja noted.
He added that they would construct a four-storied complex with apartments to be rented out to members and other residents.
Jean Paul Ndungutse, a member of the cooperative, observed: “Some of us have been paying between Rwf 200,000 and Rwf 300,000 for rent. However, we shall now be working from our own offices”.
When The New Times visited the new site, most were busy putting up final touches on their respective sheds.
Joseph Kabanda, the Executive Secretary of Gatsata Sector, said they would continue to offer advice on how best to develop the new site.
“Some of the residents in the sector have been drinking toxic water as a result of the activities carried out in these garages and I believe their relocation is important in terms of protecting the environment,” he noted.
Kabanda revealed that the sector would hire a local sanitation firm, Agruni Cleaning Company, to clear up part of the wetland and dispose of the refuse at the Nyanza central garbage collection centre.