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A fading heritage

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

THE excitement that had reverberated across Levuka last year after the Old Capital was listed a world heritage site is slowly fading away.

Building owners are now scratching their heads and scraping the bottom of the barrel to refurbish colonial and old-style buildings back to their former glory.

Many are citing financial issues.

Former mayor and Levuka tourism lifetime member George Gibson said what once held so much promise had now brought disillusionment to home and building owners in the Old Capital.

"World heritage listing was supposed to boost our economy and bring us better opportunities but the funds are simply not available to fix places up," the 84-year-old said.

"We have a committee in place and people can take loans but what many did not take into account was people's ability to pay these loans back.

"Jobs are not readily available and the cost of living in Levuka is quite high."

Mr Gibson said the state of Levuka's economy was evident in the fact that many residents did not have disposable income.

This had resulted in social venues closing down over the years.

"We used to have about four live music groups performing at the Levuka Club, Ovalau Club and a host of other venues.

"These have all closed down now and the live bands have all stopped playing."

The only entertainment centre open in the Old Capital is a club called Koromakawa, situated in a nondescript building near the port.

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