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Tamavua Action Group calls for a second public consultation in relation to the Princes Road development

Published date: 18-Dec-2023

The Tamavua Action Group has written to Local Government Minister, Maciu Nalumisa in relation to the development along 81 to 87 Princes Road in Suva, and is calling for a second public consultation as the Department of Environment has made a decision and a Technical Review Committee has met to assess the project.

In a letter to Nalumisa, President of the Tamavua Action Group, Vincent McKenzie and Kontiki Lane Settlement resident, Kelera Saucake say they believe that there have been two developments that meet the criteria to have a second public consultation meeting.

They say on October 26th, the EIA Administrator, Vukidonu Qionibaravi issued a decision not to require the development to have an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and on November 10th, the Department of Environment convened a Technical Review Committee to consider an amended Environment Management Plan (CEMP) or Operational Environment Management Plan (OEMP) presented by Great Han International Company Ltd.

They say a second consultation would enable the government to inform the public why the EIA Administrator decided not to require an EIA; explain the outcome of the Technical Review Committee and its implications for the approval process for the development; and address the many unanswered questions that this development has generated.

Serious concerns are being raised why the Department of Environment through the EIA Administrator is opting for the developer not to have a full Environmental Impact Assessment with proper public consultations, knowing the many issues surrounding the project.

fijivillage News has also asked the Department of Environment how the EIA Administrator arrived at that decision. We are still awaiting their response.

The Tamavua Action Group also says given the importance of the Technical Review Committee, they would encourage the government to publish the formal minutes of the meeting on November 10th, as part of its commitment to transparency in policy making.

We have consulted with Mrs. Kelera Saucake, a representative from the Konitki Lane Settlement, and she has kindly agreed to join us in this appeal for a further public consultation on this Development.

They have also written to the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Filimoni Vosarogo, Permanent Secretary for Environment and Climate Change Dr. Sivendra Michael and Acting CEO Suva City Council Azam Khan. They say the Princes Road development has generated much speculation because there are so many unanswered questions.

They are asking whether the development was approved in 2014 without an EIA Screening Application being submitted to the Department of Environment and if so, who made the determination to proceed without an EIA and on what legal basis, is it correct that neither the 2014 Environment Management Plan (CEMP) or Operational Environment Management Plan (OEMP) nor the amended CEMP/OEMP presented in 2023 adequately address (i) the findings of any geological investigation and report; (ii) the findings of the structural design report (based on a geological investigation); (iii) a Traffic Impact Assessment; and (iv) the treatment of sewerage and solid waste.

They also ask whether it is correct that the design of the development underwent a major alteration between 2014 and 2022 without an EIA determination or an approval of a revised CEMP/OEMP, and if so, did the alterations (a) nullify the approval of the CEMP/OEMP granted in 2014; and (b) require that the developer submit a Screening Application for an EIA Determination and a new CEMP/OEMP that covered the alternations to the development since 2014 (and not just for the additional floors in Buildings 1 and 2).

The Tamavua Action Group is also asking whether it is correct that the EIA Administrator overruled an internal recommendation to conduct an EIA when she made her EIA determination decision of October 26th, and if so, why was this internal recommendation overruled.

They also ask how does the decision of the EIA Administrator of November 24th, 2023 affect the approval process for the development and does it only affect the additional floors or the development as a whole.

They also want to know what are the next steps with respect to the Stop Work Order on the development.

We have sent questions to the Department of Environment again which is yet to give us a response.

Questions have also been sent to the Minister for Local Government.