Dear Editor – Thank you for including the following article in your column.
There must be a ‘silver lining’ in the ‘dark clouds’ which shrouded Honiara in the recent deadly flash floods and the heart breaks and misery they brought to Honiara and the nation.
It is a golden opportunity for national and Honiara Town Council leaders to realise what is either missing or not done properly in regards to the planning and development of Honiara to minimize destruction and death in future flash floods and inundation.
One of the important things I see as missing are laws and related regulations to guide and strictly control planning and development in Honiara.
If these are already in existence then their strict application has certainly been lacking. One of the main purposes for such laws and regulations is to make the location of certain buildings in high risk and dangerous areas punishable by law.
They should also effect the proper zoning of urban centres as Honiara. It is when such laws and regulations are either absent or not strictly applied for urban centers that residential houses are built too close to rivers and streams.
Some of these are even built in river beds and straddling streams. Incredible! I doubt that if Honiara had been properly zoned and related regulations strictly applied, the Pacific Casino Hotel and related facilities, and the shopping ‘match box’ facilities east of these would be where they presently are.
Because there is no proper zoning and no strict application of whatever related regulations there are, drainage into the sea at this seafront has effectively been blocked.
The extent of the flash floods with regards to the Mataniko river must make us rethink the construction of bridges over this river. I believe the location, size and height are serious considerations of a new bridge.
I would suggest that only one new bridge be built. The bridge must be at least four lanes wide, must extend at least fifty meters from both river banks, and as high if not higher than the footpath over-pass over the high way just east of the present bridge.
All traffic to Tuvaruhu, Vara Creek, and China Town must exit the highway at Lawson Tama. Only foot paths would be erected for instance at the site of the old bridge.