Need for a town centre in Tailevu

Divneet Raj (right) with his mother Sunila Lata at their family-owned restaurant in Korovou Town in Tailevu. Picture: ABISHEK CHAND

Tailevu was one of the provinces which did not have a town centre according to Ministry of Local Government senior engineer and project manager Israr Ali.

He said this province had one of the largest growths of any province in Fiji according to the 2017 population census.

“The Korovou ward is isolated to current trading area so if looked at the current population of 329, this information was taken from the 2017 population census,” said Mr Ali.

“The Tailevu province had a growth of 15.9 per cent from the 2007 population survey which was roughly by 55,000 now around 64,000.”

He added Korovou urban had 71 number of households and the business houses were about 36 which accounted for 0.8 per cent of wholesale and retail trade.

“Majority of the economic activity is money works, it was quite alarming to see that it was 9.2 per cent of subsistence or the provided amount of productive land that is currently available in Korovou,” he said.

The proposed town centre’s Northern boundary is where the existing trading centre is which was boarded by the Korovou Primary School buildings.

The existing services in Korovou included the following but were not limited to, Korovou hospital and dental clinic, district office, Korovou Health office, police station, iTaukei Land Trust Board office, Korovou market, Tailevu Hotel and various commercial trading shops or stores.

“The land that is behind the Korovou market is the primary sight that we are looking to develop initially before we proceed on to the 40 acre land development.

“The proposed extension to the current trading centre which we are all aware of is located along the Kings highway on the East side of the island of Viti Levu.

“It is approximately 50 kilometres North from Nausori which is the closest town centre and if you can imagine the amount of commuting required for the residence of Korovou, that essential service is cost taking and time taking as well.

“Again Rakiraki the other flanking town is 112 kilometres to the North West of Korovou. “So, it is accessible from Kings Road on both ends and it is a regular transit point for commuters going to the Natovi Jetty for travel via the sea route,” he said.

Mr Ali added there were about 100,000 to 120,000 people who commuted per year through Natovi.

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