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Call to reject EIA

Torika Chandra
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

THE Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA) believes the Director Town and Country Planning should not accept the conditionally approved Waibola Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by PBS for their application to rezone.

Waibola, zoned a residential area, is the subject of concern for residents in the area following an application to rezone it to heavy industrial and car park.

"According to the Environment Management Act, if a proposal is subjected to an EIA, approvals by any other authority cannot be given so far as that development proposal is concerned without the approval of the EIA first," FELA co-ordinator Kiji Vukikomoala said.

"For example if Draunibota wants to develop the foreshore, the Department of Lands cannot issue a foreshore lease unless the EIA is approved for development of the foreshore."

She said she presumed that the Director Town and Country planning was allowing the rezoning application to go ahead because of the EIA approved for that 3.5 acres of freehold land.

"However, as the whole EIA process was not a transparent one, we are of the opinion that the director should not approve the EIA.

"She should seek that another one is conducted considering all the issues that were not looked at in the initial EIA approval as it would be difficult in the circumstances to say she is able to make a properly informed decision from the current EIA given the objections raised."

Attempts to get comments from Director Town and Country Planning, Losana Rokotuibau proved futile.

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