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Oyster Bay: Shutdown over sound pollution or competitors’ witch hunt?

Nairobi restaurant Oyster Bay continues to suffer woes of closure after the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) closed the establishment over sound pollution.

Located on Ndemi Road in the Kilimani area, the restaurant’s manager came out strongly to clear the air saying that it had spent millions of shillings in compliance and now terms the closure a witch hunt by competitors through state agencies.

“We have spent over Sh10 million complying with Nema regulations but they keep finding new loop holes, this is obviously a witch hunt by our competitors,” Sarah Mwangi, General Manager Oyster Bay, told Nairobi News.

She also mentioned that the closure by the Nairobi City County Government targeted a shutdown right before Easter weekend, which happens to be the busiest weekend in the first quarter of the year.

“The restaurant was fitted with a sound proof, a roof amongst a raft of other measures which have cost the business millions of shillings. We even invited sound engineers to the premises to ascertain the standards of the work done,” she added.

Oyster Bay’s management holds that the county government is infringing the rights of so many Kenyans trying to eke out a living in a high-cost economy, therefore asking Governor Johnson Sakaja to reopen it.

Also read: Why NEMA officials have closed Kilimani’s Oyster Bay club

An advocate who came to find out the reasons for the shutdown despite a pending court order was also arrested.

“Oyster Bay is a decent place where I hold my business meetings so this is clearly a witch hunt by known competitors using state agencies because it is the biggest and best upmarket restaurant in Nairobi. We are ready to fight and ensure this matter gets to the relevant authorities; we will also file for contempt,” said Beatrice Maina, Oyster Bay’s advocate.

In a letter dated April 6, 2023, Nema ordered the establishment to remain closed after following many noise pollution complaints from Kilimani residents.

Nema said the restaurant did not submit an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (IAE) before beginning its operations.

Last week, employees, who are now out of work, called for the county government to take action to resolve the issue and ensure that the restaurant is allowed to reopen as soon as possible.

Oyster Bay is known for its seafood and has been a favourite spot for many Nairobi residents and tourists.

Governor Sakaja had last year ordered the closure of a number of clubs over noise pollution leading to uproar from the stakeholders in the industry who argued that the move would lead to the loss of jobs.

Also read: Have mercy on us! Oyster Club workers plead with Sakaja