The main public event for this exhibition was held yesterday near the Guadalcanal Police Station at Henderson, and around a hundred or so interested people came to hear about the draft local planning scheme and have a say in the area’s future.
A local planning scheme includes a Vision, strategies, zones, overlays, subdivision, design and building controls to guide future development in an area.
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey has already assisted in the preparation, exhibition and approval of other local planning schemes around the country in recent years in conjunction with provincial governments, including planning schemes for Honiara, Auki and Gizo.
The Henderson Local Planning Scheme is the first such planning control in Guadalcanal Province, and it is targeting an area that is currently experiencing rapid change and development.
The local planning scheme aims to separate incompatible land uses, for example industrial and residential; to prevent inappropriate developments in areas subject to natural hazards such as flooding along the Lungga River, create public access to the foreshore between Lungga River mouth and Alligator Creek, and plan for future development of the airport, markets, the recently declared Bloody Ridge National Park and other public infrastructure.
One of the Ministry’s Physical Planners John Momis Lai produced many of the illustrations that are included in the Local Planning Scheme and commented that:
“The open day was successful and it is important for people to gain an understanding of what physical planning is, and what potential benefits can come from better planning.
“There is also a need for people to understand that planning is not the same thing as land ownership – the planning scheme does not determine who owns which land, it is about what people can do with their own registered land.”
Another planning officer Alphones Wale added:
“There is wide support for women’s groups to have land at Henderson for their purposes such as arts and craft markets, and the local planning scheme identifies a potential area for this type of land use”.
The Guadalcanal Premier Anthony Veke attended the exhibition and spoke to the audience about the Guadalcanal Land Summit intended to be held before the end of the year, where land issues would be discussed.
The development of local planning schemes in Solomon Islands, including the draft Henderson scheme, has been made possible with the assistance of the Australian Government through the Pacific Community (SPC).
The draft Henderson Local Planning Scheme is on exhibition until Monday 25 September and can be viewed at the Guadalcanal Provincial Government (contact Ben Tova or John Wanetenia) and Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey (contact John Momis Lai or Rowley Wanega).
The planners intend to present the draft scheme to specific stakeholder groups such as infrastructure providers and local schools in the coming weeks.