Viewed from whatever perspective, the advent of the University of Buea and other tertiary institutions adorning the upcoming city has had a very profound effect on its outlook. Buildings have sprouted like mushroom to cater to the needs of student influx, and by extension, businesses to service the needs of increased population.
While some of the buildings embellish the town with eye-catching aesthetics, the mode of construction in terms of location and respect for elementary town planning rules leave much to be desired. The blame for this calamitous situation is equally shared between unscrupulous and complicit Government functionaries and greedy landlords whose quest for fast money causes them to circumvent laid down statutes.
Contemporary with the above, Cameroon has a current wave of rapid and uncontrolled urban growth. As in other West African countries, the pace of urbanization has been very rapid for some years now. People migrate for mainly economic, political and social purposes. The population densities of some urban settings are rapidly becoming worrisome due to factors like the need for space to accommodate human activities and the availability of land. In Buea, these intervening variables in town planning present a number of planning challenges which must be addressed.
The introduction of secondary education and the presence of health facilities also act as pull factors for migrants. Most importantly, the creation of the University of Buea in 1993 and presence of other private universities marked a turning point in the urban growth process in Buea. This growth has brought along a host of challenges, including poor planning, poor housing construction,waste disposal problems, the absence of basic services, insecurity and the steady disappearance of forests. Buea, especially, Molyko has a very poor building plan. Houses are built precariously close to transformer poles.Others are planted on prospective thoroughfares. It is a pity that most of those who violate these construction rules are the keepers of the laws which therefore make it difficult for this situation to be resolved. One finds it very difficult to direct a person to a residence in Molyko due to congestion of houses.
Buea is not just any city; it is a historical capital. It should be an example for other Anglophone cities.To stem this poor planning, city authorities should conduct regular checks to ensure proper construction. Town planning regulations should be respected, development experts consulted and growth coordinated. Hopefully, the Government’s parroted‘Vision 2035’that has as challenge the need for urban development, regional development and environmental protection will take on board measures to ensure safe and sane cohabitation of people and buildings.
By*Atem Sherlyn Nguinchu
*U B journalism student on internship