By: IMMACULATE WAIRIMU
Real estate developer Sultan Palace is transforming three abandoned quarry sites within its 43-acre parcel of beach front property, into one of East Africa’s largest water parks.
The Kenyan real estate company owned by China’s Jiangxi Xinyu estate development company started transforming the three abandoned quarries in December 2014, to reap additional benefits.
Mining and quarrying leaves permanent scars on landscapes and ecosystems and rehabilitation helps beautify and restore the landscape.
“In one of the finest locations in Kenya, we found a considerable tract of land that would have had very limited use, unless if rehabilitated to fit into the project plan for the Sh5 billion luxurious beach retreat development in Kikambala, Kilifi County,” says Mr Liu Tiancai, the General Manager of Sultan Palace development.
The quarry sites were among many abandoned because they were not well managed while in operation, and lacked rehabilitation plans when completed.
As a result, decades of coral mining by the locals degraded the land, rendering it virtually unusable.
“This resulted in quarries that can hold a capacity of more than 4,200 cubic metres of water,” says Mr Liu. The deepest of the quarries is almost seven metres, with the other two approximately 4.5 metres deep. According to Mr Tincai, Sultan Palace is developing these neglected ditches to ensure minimum disturbance to the environment.
The company has opted to develop and convert the quarries into centrepieces while at the same time cutting the costs of putting up similar features on the other usable parts of the site, said Mr Tiancai.
“Converting derelict mines into a water park will cost around Sh50 million, which would have risen significantly, if it were to be excavated from a new site,” says Mr Tiancai.
The rehabilitation plan comes at time when the United Nations and the world summit for sustainable development implementation plan have recognised that using innovative approaches to restore land resources as a critical factor in achieving economic and ecological sustainability.
“In normal circumstances, the pits would have been filled with soil that would have probably been imported,” adds Mr Tiancai.
The upcoming beach retreat will be a modern fusion of Swahili-Arabic architecture, geared towards creating a luxurious fun-filled holiday paradise.
The transformation will turn the land that has been neglected for more than 30 years into two communal swimming pools of 400 square meters, and a 1,000 square metre water park.
The water park will feature play areas with slides, tunnels, splash pads and lazy rivers, designed to enable children have active fun and adventure.
The beach retreat will have 50 beach houses, 16 villas and 132 condominiums, with the Diamond residence villas being sold on an invite basis only.
“The price for the villas have already gone up from Sh65 million to Sh72 million, because they are in high demand,” adds Mr Tiancai. .
One of the quarries was put into temporary use as storage for much of the construction water, after which it will help address the challenge of intermittent water supply for Kilifi county as a water catchment area.