Future assured as construction begins on Africa’s first smart, eco-friendly city
by CHUKA UROKO
September 12, 2017 | 1:28 am| | | Start Conversation
It was a momentous event and star-studded gathering at the weekend for unveiling and commencement of dredging and other construction activities on Africa’s first smart and eco-friendly city being developed and promoted by an indigenous real estate firm, Channeldrill Resources Limited.
Known as Imperial International Business City (IIBC), the new island community is a future assured haven being developed as a response to the growing population and the large economy of Lagos which is estimated to be bigger than those of Ghana and Kenya combined.
“Lagos population is growing every day and so we need to expand our kingdom. We have been on this project for years but today we have started with the name of God. Some people thought it was not something we could do but, by God’s grace, we are here today and going on”, said Saheed Ademola Eleguishi, the Oba of Elegushi Royal Family of Ikateland, the sponsor of the project.
The Oba sees the emerging city and Etiosa as the ‘New Lagos’ where things are happening. He hopes that the city would be home to many of the people that are coming to reside in Lagos on daily basis, pointing out however that the city will be for only those that will be able to afford it.
“Lagos is developing every day and people are coming in. According to a UN report, Lagos is the fastest developing corridor in West Africa. So, we are planning ahead for the increasing population and that is why we are expanding our domain”, he explained.
The city which will be sitting on 200 hectares of land to be reclaimed from the Lagoon will be rising 3.5 metres above sea level and this is to ensure that flooding and other environmental factors are taken care of.
Following the spate of natural disasters that are sweeping across the globe as hurricane Harvey in Texas and Houston, Hurricane Irma in Mexico; flooding in some parts of Nigerian including Lagos, Niger, Benue, Kogi, Ibadan, etc, there are concerns of unsavoury incidents from inclement weather conditions, but the promoters of IIBC are assuring that there will never be such happenings in the new city.
“Normally, when you want to do a project of this nature and magnitude, you do your due diligence and environmental impact assessment. We have done all that and we are working with the best global experts in dredging and land reclamation. They have given us all the assurance on environmental issues. So, we are building a flood-free city that will be 3.5 metres above sea level”, Eleguishi assured.
In the next 12 months, construction activities will be going on non-stop as all the construction partners and consultants have set out to work. “We have mobilized to site and we are already laying the pipes. We are getting ready to start the first phase of sand filling and it will take us one year to complete the first phase of the project which will deliver 100 hectares of land”, said Stefaan Van Velthoven, the General Manager of Dredging International Services, in an interview.
He stressed that the city would be planned on 3.5 metres above sea level, noting that this is the first of such developments on the lagoon. “Future flood rise and other environmental issues have been taken into consideration in the design and planning of the city. There has been an investigation into the behavior of the sea and this too has been taken into consideration”, Velthoven assured.
The developers are promising world-class and top-notch infrastructure that will make life and living in the city a great experience. “This is a smart city and any smart city must be integrated; it must be self-sustaining, safe, enjoyable and technology-driven”, said Femi Akioye, the MD/CEO of Channeldrill Resources, in his presentation at the event.
He added that IIBC was about live, work and play, pointing out that they were out to change the story of city development in Africa. “This is going to be the first city in West Africa to have data centre; it is going to be a green city that will take into consideration the sustainability of the environment and the safety of the residents”, he said, adding that apart from an integrated energy supply, waste generated in the city will be converted into energy through the use of technology.
“The infrastructure design of the city will be hinged on six infrastructural design drivers, including ensuring that the city is self-sustaining; it must be a smart and an eco-friendly city; must have steady flow of traffic; must have a flood free lifetime of 100 years; have general utility efficiency, and must leverage the best technology to archive all these”, Akioye assured.
The city promises a central business district (CDB) that is a walkable and linked to the marina with a green pedestrian corridor and, as a destination for regional and international business, the district centre will also provide luxury hotels, conference facilities, retail, food and beverage outlets.
“Exclusive residential apartments will be located at the edge of the city ensuring a short walkable distance to the office”, Akioye said, pointing out that the mood of this district will be efficient, corporate, relaxed, and business-focused while activities will be outdoor entertainment, outdoor work and collaboration.
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