Land work troubles residents

Denise Gibson shows the loose soil left along the slope close to the residential houses due to the development on a hilltop in Kashmir Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

KASHMIR residents in Lautoka whose homes fringe a new Housing Authority of Fiji development are “up in arms” about how the engineering work is being conducted.

Denise Gibson, one of the concerned residents, said there was no proper consultation process prior to the start of the land clearing work.

“There was no notice given to us long-time residents of the intended development, by word of mouth, written or otherwise.

“Secondly, as in any quick-motion, overnight development being done, no environment impact assessment was conducted and advertised publicly,” she claimed.

“The third and most important factor is the threat to the safety of existing residents.”

Ms Gibson said soil from excavation work had piled along the border between the development and neighbouring homes.

“Come the first rain, this will end up in my compound, taking my retaining wall with it to boot. No right-minded citizen opposes development. But it has to be done not in an arbitrary or haphazard manner, but in compliance with environmental requirements and most importantly in conjunction with those who will suffer some inconvenience or discomfort from it.”

When asked about the concerns raised by Ms Gibson, Lautoka City Council CEO Jone Nakauvadra said the matter was in the hands of the Housing Authority of Fiji.

Housing Authority of Fiji general manager Isikeli Navuda said while he was aware of the development, he did not know anything about the concerns raised by Ms Gibson.

Mr Navuda said he would make contact with the contractor before making any comment regarding the issue.

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