Several years down the line residents of Samburu, Isiolo Meru and the neighboring counties are still anxious on the progress of the highly publicized vision 2030’s LAPSSET Project that was initiated by the Kibaki Government.
Without question the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor will be the game changer in the areas it passes through in Isiolo and Meru and nearby areas. At least two mega projects were planned in the region: Isiolo International Airport and the Isiolo Resort City.
The Isiolo Resort City is set to consume the mind-gobbling figure of US Dollars 200 million or about sh20 billion.
The city which is expected to give birth to major investments by the private sector will be on the Isiolo-Meru border though some politicians and conservationists have expressed concern that the location should be changed.
Lapsset Corporate Affairs Director Benson Thuita says they are currently engaging various stakeholders as the project gathers steam.
He said the Lapsset management was talking with Kenya Pipeline in the Ministry of Petroleum, National Land Commission among others, as the finer details of the project are ironed out.
“About two months ago we met the governors in the region (including Meru’s Kiraitu Murungi) to express the vision and discuss the process of acquiring land for the project. We have engaged and continue to engage community leaders and individual land owners,” said Mr Thuita.
Thuita said among issues being discussed with the land owners is on the preferred mode of compensation.
He said they were in discussions with stakeholder whether the compensation is land for land or cash for those who will give up their parcels to pave way for project.
Consultations among key leaders and organizations are still going on about the city, expected to occupy about 10, 000 acres.
Kipsing Gap was one of the locations widely expected to host the city but wildlife conservationists said that would displace wildlife, including elephants teeming in the area.
Though consultations have still not been fully exhausted there were suggestions the resort city could be moved to Kula Mawe (still in Isiolo) or Igembe North in Meru.
Environmentalist say Archers Post and Kula Mawe which are free of land disputes as residents and speculators fight for land in the Lapsset route, are good sites for the resort city.