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More talks needed

Torika Tokalau
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

WAIBOLA should remain listed as peri-urban residential and village land zones.

This is the view of Dr Randy Thaman, USP professor of Pacific Islands Biogeography and Asikaia Balawa, the traditional herald in Navakavu Village — the landowners of Waibola.

In their letter to the Lami Town Council objecting to the proposed rezoning, Dr Thaman and Mr Balawa said rezoning shouldn't be considered without any recent study and consultation with local communities and other relevant parties.

"We argue this based on the quite dramatic historical impacts of Wailada Estate and other industrial and urban developments have had since the 1970s," Dr Thaman said.

"To our knowledge none of this long-term history of the impact of industrial development has been considered seriously.

"There is absolutely no reason that such a sensitive coastal foreshore and reef should be sacrificed for heavy industry, as NLTB has already identified appropriate industrial sites in the greater Suva urban area."

He suggested that before the initiative to rezone continued, there should be a more widespread consultation process.

"And also, a scientifically informed decision-making and environmental assessment of the dire long-term downstream impacts on some of Fiji's richest reefs and lagoons and the villages, residential areas, tourist resorts and other developments that depend for their health and well being on a healthy unpolluted environment and the protection afforded to them by intact reefs and mangroves and coastal forest.

"There is a serious need to look at other options for industrial expansion rather than destroying one of Fiji's most important and productive areas."

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