Desert Explorers to cough up for free use of land

The popular Swakopmund quadbike tour operator Desert Explorers will in future pay a rental amount for a large piece of land the company is utilising as a parking area for its customers. Town Council decided this during the recent meeting after it came to light that Desert Explorers is utilizing an area for this purpose much larger than was initially thought.

For many years Desert Explorers on the southern border of the town isutilising a large area to offer quadbike tours into the dune belt across the Swakop River. The tours are especially popular with tourists. Currently the company is leasing two portions of land for its operations. According to the Agenda of the meeting the company is leasing erf 1058 from Government for its operations while at the same time is also utilizing erf 1318, which the company is leasing from Town Council.
During a meeting of the Swakopmund Planning Forum it was determined that Desert Explorers is utilizing an area measuring 247 m² of erf 1318 for purposes of parking – free of charge. After the meeting Council decided to extend the lease agreement for this area as well as another small portion until the end of August 2018. During another meeting of the Planning Forum in May 2016 it transpired that “the actual size of the area used by them on erf 1318 measures 5 443 m² instead of 247 m².” The large portion Desert Explorers utilises for parking of over-land trucks, busses, light passenger and other vehicles; parking for staff; a track for kids quadbike rides and for camel rides.
In the Agenda it further states that currently Council’s standard rental tariff for parking areas amounts to N$15.73 per square metre. In this case Desert Explorers would be forced to fork out a monthly amount of N$98 461.15, which is described as “an unreasonable high rental which will have a detrimental effect on the business venture, considering the fluctuation of prices, monthly overheads of the business etc.”
Because of the above, Council appointed a valuer who argues that the larger the portion of land the lower the rental amount per square metre should be. It was therefore proposed that a rental amount for the area measuring 5 443 m² to be N$1.50 per square metre. At the recent meeting Council approved this monthly rental amount being N$9 389.18. It was further determined that Desert Explorer’s rental fee for the parking area be levied backdated from 1 September 2015. Additionally a deposit equal to one month’s rental be levied as well as “any additional conditions Council deems fit.”

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