Government defends move to use Hellsgate route in Rally Championships

The government has defended the move to use a section of Hellsgate national park in Naivasha for the upcoming World Rally Championship (WRC) slated for July.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the world event scheduled would have minimal effects on the troubled parks wildlife and ecosystem.

This came as the organizers of the event and the Government settled for KWS training institute in Naivasha as the main service center for the prestigious rally.

This emerged when Tourism CS Najib Balala led a high powered government delegation and the rally organizers in visiting the park and hotels in Naivasha where the rally cars will pass through.

Addressing the press, Balala assured environmentalists and stakeholders that the routes chosen would not interfere with the movement of wildlife.

He said that the rally organizers and events coordinators were comfortable with the routes chosen along various sites and in the park.

He added that part of the funds raised from the event would go towards saving the parks endangered vultures and also towards various environmental projects.

“We have identified rally route around the park and we don’t have to seek new roads for this event which will also be used to sell Kenya as a tourist destination point,” he said.

On the service center, Balala said that the organizers would expand the current graduation square and use the nearby Sanctuary farm to host more of the rally equipment and machinery.

“We are expecting between 80,000-100,000 visitors and the government is keen to make sure that this event is a success,” he said.

To this end, Balala noted that plans were at an advanced stage to construct a waterfront in Lake Naivasha which will be used during the rally event.

“KWS has ample and unutilized land near the lake and we are in talks with the organizers so that this waterfront is ready before this world event kicks off,” he said.

On his part the Chairman Kenya Motorsport Federation Phineas Kimathi said that all was set for the event which would attract drivers and viewers from all parts of the world.

He said that hotels in Naivasha where the main event would be held were fully booked noting that thousands would directly and indirectly benefit.

“This event will use around Sh6B and we expect hoteliers and mama mbogas to be among the major beneficiaries for this event which has returned to the world rally series,” he said.