Extraction problem

THE Navua River is a renowned tourist attraction and the only means of access to public amenities for villages situated by the river in the interior of the Namosi and Serua highlands.

Five major tour operators and a few other smaller ones receive about 10,000 visitors annually through various activities along the river.

However, one of the tour operators has raised concerns that recent gravel excavations for the creation of a new gravel pit up the Navua River gorge are affecting business.

Discover Fiji Tours Co-operative Ltd managing director Lionel Danford said the site lay within an area of outstanding natural beauty.

“The scar on the landscape this operation will create will be detrimental to the visual impact visitors will view travelling up river,” he said.

According to Mr Danford, repercussions of this new development could have a negative long-term effect on the environment and this would in turn affect local villages and Discover Fiji Tours as a local business.

“We have been supporting the government’s initiative towards tourism and developments up the Namosi and Serua interior.

“All the villagers and tour operators are behind us in this since it’s like the Qoliqoli Bill to us locals here,” he said.

Navua councillor Avinesh Sharma urged the people of Raiwaqa in Navua to be patient and raise their grievances with appropriate authorities.

“The road condition in this area has also been affected. Other issues have also arisen from this such as the lack of bus services.

“Our opinion is to get someone to get a proper feasibility study on how this will affect the livelihood of the people, animals and the surrounding areas.”

Mr Sharma said there was a need for a feasibility study.

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