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Plea to save the bay

Torika Tokalau
Thursday, May 01, 2014

RESIDENTS of Lami find themselves in a somewhat similar situation to what they had faced in 2012 as they again try to save the Draunibota Bay.

A multi-discipline construction company based in Fiji caused a bit of a stir back in 2012 with its intentions to set up its headquarters at Lot 1 Waibola, Wailekutu.

This did not rest well with the communities, settlement and landowners and after much petitioning, the bay — which is home to vast mangroves — was saved.

Now however, residents of Lami are again fighting the same fight, this time against the altered zoning of Lot 1 Waibola, Wailekutu from residential to heavy industrial.

Numerous petitions, submissions and applications have been written to the Lami Town Council objecting to the zoning.

Lami Town Council special administrator Jasper Singh said the response from residents had been tremendous.

"We received numerous letters regarding the matter, most of them objecting to the development at the Waibola site," Mr Singh said.

He said his team was in the process of going through all submissions which it would summarise with its own recommendations.

These will then be forwarded to the director of Town and Country Planning who will make the final decision.

"We represent the ratepayers as well, that's our concern. That will be a major factor and we won't just decide anything, we will look at the merits of every objection and compile everything and what the council feels.

"But the final decision rests with the director."

Uduya Point property owner Luke Ragg, in his letter objecting to the zoning of Waibola, said there was blatant disregard for proper due process and consultation with all the communities in the area.

"The area is a natural food source for many in the community. The area's vast mangrove is one of the few remaining natural cleansers of the environment and the greater Suva Peninsula overall," Mr Ragg explained.

"The area is a breeding ground for all forms of marine life and a natural habitat for other life and this must be preserved.

"The whole of the residential area of Uduya Point will be affected, from single property/ homeowners to the Uduya Point Marina Estate. In time, industrial development will cause further extraordinary strain on the marine environment and will result in catastrophic marine death of not only Draunibota Bay, but the surrounding areas including the adjacent Bay of Islands.

"Lami could not be called the Garden Town when we destroy our greatest garden of all."

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