PM clarifies purchase of land intended for new Choiseul township
By AATAI JOHN
Government’s decision to purchase Choiseul Bay for the relocation of Choiseul Provincial headquarter on Taro island worth $10million was based on an agreement by the landowners.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavarerevealed this in Parliament, Monday.
About 532 hectares of land at Choiseul Bay was purchased by the national government for $10-million to allow for the relocation of Taro to the new site at Choiseul Bay.
The Prime Minister made the explanation when intervening to answer a question directed at the Minister of Lands, Housing and Survey Andrew Manepora to explain why the government decided to go ahead with the outright purchase of the site as it is contradictory with its land policy.
The supplementary question stemmed from a principle question asked by the Member of Parliament for North West Choiseul to the Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening David Tome about the progress of the relocation project and how much has the government spent so far on it.
“The decision to purchase the land was made since landowners agreed to sell the new township site to the government.
“The government’s land policy looks at institutionalising our customary land tenure system but in this case, landowners consented to an outright purchase of the land which was paid by government.
“Since landowners were willing to sell their land to government thus the story ends like this,” he added.
Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening David Tome in response to the question raised by the MP for North West Choiseul Sandakabatu said that Topographic Surveys and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report were completed.
He added thata study to identify a suitable site for a seaport was tendered but they have not yet recruited any company for the job.
Minister Tome said other important studies on the socio economic benefits on the site for the township were also conducted, including planning for roads, walkways and other infrastructures.
He said studies were also conducted as well for water supplies to the township.