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Tides prompt eviction

Shalveen Chand
Monday, January 06, 2014

BUSINESSES operating from a Fiji National Provident Fund-owned building on Greig Street in Suva have been issued notices to vacate the premises.

This comes as FNPF plans to demolish the existing structure and build one which is higher off the ground because of the constant inflow of water from the nearby Nubukalou Creek into the shops during high tide.

Locksmith business owner Bharat Kumar said they had received notices and advised that the building would be demolished and a replacement two-storey structure would be adjoined to the Downtown Boulevard.

Mr Kumar said the flooding problem always happened during high tide.

He said businesses had been given the option of moving to the DowtownBoulevard.

"I am sure the rent won't be the same. We have even been told that once the project is done, the old tenants will get first priority but the fear is that rent will be higher," Mr Kumar said.

Hari Singh, the owner of Suva Bookshop which has been at Greig St for the past 33 years, said the problem had existed for that long.

Suva City Council chief executive Bijay Chand said the particular portion of land next to Nubukalou Creek has been sinking.

He said this, coupled with the rising sea level, had affected that part of the city.

He said because of this reason, all new structure in the city had to be half a metre off the ground.

Mr Chand said this was the case when supermarket giants Morris Hedstrom started construction of MHCC.

He said SCC was also looking at dredging the creek, fit it with flood gates and higher retaining walls.

"In order to do these things, we will need money and this will run into millions of dollars. I can say that rates alone cannot cover this," he said.

According to tenants on Greig St, it will be at least a few months before they move out for construction to start.

No comments could be obtained from FNPF yesterday.

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