Zambian development threatens Vic Falls heritage status(01-02-07)

BY KJW
UNESCO has threatened to take Victoria Falls off its international list of national heritage sites if a planned development of two luxury hotels and a golf course goes through on the Zambian side.
South African company Legacy Holdings has won a contract from the Zambian government to de

velop the project on a previously unused plot of Mosi-oa-Tunya park. However environmentalists are up in arms over the proposal as the site is home to a crucial elephant crossing and one of the only places that people can enjoy a river view without having to pay a fee.
UNESCO has threatened to mount a campaign in conjunction with conservationists for tourists to boycott the area if the project is allowed to go ahead. Many local residents agree and are lobbying for the plan to be abandoned, one person wrote on an internet site: “The animals are already too enclosed. We need to improve land planning, increase profits and give back to the animals, land that is under-used.”
Legacy has agreed to redesign the $260 million to accommodate the concerns raised by the environmental groups. The Zambian government has stipulated that the hotels should not exceed the tree tops in height and they should not be visible from afar. Fencing of the area is also prohibited.
“Legacy will now begin to study the balance of the available land duly approved and ear marked for development,” said Legacy Chairman Jacob Sikazwe. He added that the company was “confident that, once the revised project design has been formulated, Livingstone will still have a world class eco-friendly resort.”

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