Slow progress to schools in Koro

One of the classrooms that was under construction at Qalivakabau District School. Picture: FILE

THE Ba Provincial Holding Company Ltd (BPHCL) is racing against time in trying to complete rehabilitation works in schools on Koro Island that were devastated by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

BPHCL won the $9m contract for work on six schools on the island which were adopted by the Australian Government’s Assessment to Quality Education Program (AQEP).

Work started early last year and now less than six months away from Winston’s third anniversary there is no clear indication on when work will be completed. AQEP program manager Jemima Stancombe there were a few challenges that resulted in the delay in completion of the work.

“Construction on remote island sites is particularly challenging. The main responsibility for progress lies with the main contractor Ba. To assist Ba to meet these challenges, the Australian Government has been working closely with the Fiji Government, specifically the Ministry of Education’s Asset Management Unit and the Ministry of Economy’s Construction Implementation Unit. AQEP has been providing extensive support to the contractor and in getting quality outcomes for the people of Koro, including:

? ensuring two qualified AQEP engineers on Koro Island always to monitor progress;
? supporting and raising issues with Ba’s consultant structural engineer;
? leadership and involvement of the community in third-party monitoring;
? provision of technical project management advice directly to contractor;
? project management support to Ba in the field; and
? facilitation of stakeholder monitoring visits to oversee implementation.

“AQEP has taken a developmental approach to rebuild the schools on Koro Island. This has resulted in benefits for communities on the island, including through labour only contracting of local (Koro) contractors, hiring of local staff and ensuring thorough consultation with affected communities.

“This has brought additional benefits in terms of employment, although does sometimes result in slower than anticipated progress.

“Apart from the benefits of many new and repaired infrastructure provided by the Australian Government, the people of Koro have received an estimated $F500,000 in wages paid to local workers under the AQEP TC Winston program.”

AQEP manages the $F9 million design and constructs the project for six schools on Koro Island, namely:
? Koro High School;
? Nacamaki District School;
? Nabasovi District School;
? TuaTua Nasau Primary School
? Qalivakabau District School; and
? Vunivasa District School.

The total works on the island comprise of reconstructing 59 new buildings and repairing 21 buildings.

The contractor for this work is Ba Provincial Holdings Company Ltd (Ba).

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