THE Malaita Leaders Reflection Group on the Fiu Hydro Project on Malaita have recommended to the Malaita Provincial Government to liaise with the National Government and land owners to take immediate steps to re-open the Gwaunaru’u airport.
In a statement, the group said that it is one of the important prerequisites for the commencement of the Fiu hydro project, near Auki Malaita province.
It added that during the initial ground work and construction phase of the project, there will be movements of workers, consultants, engineers and personal from Honiara to Auki and the project site and such require the opening of the Airport to assist in the transportation mode.
“This is one of the key recommendations in their report submitted to the National Government and the Malaita Provincial Government at the end of last year” the statement added.
In its report, the Malaita Leaders Reflection Group welcomed the strong support and commitment of the Democratic Coalition for Changed (DCC) Government to develop and implement the Fiu Hydro Project and call on all stakeholders, including the National Government, Malaita Provincial Government, Solomon Power, Donors and Fiu Hydro Resource owners to support the project.
It added that the Malaita Leaders Reflection Group also commended the initiative and efforts of the resource owners in bringing the project to date and getting the project through the National Government.
“It recommended that the experience of the Fiu hydro resource owner’s model be studied further and be used as model to be followed in other future National and Provincial projects throughout the country.”
The statement added the Group also noted the potential impact of the project on the communities in the development area and recommended that more awareness programmes and activities be undertaken to educate the villages and communities on the impact of project and this should involve resource owners, churches, women’s groups and other stakeholders.
It also recommended the establishment of committees at the provincial level to deal with specific issues and impacts associated with the hydro development, as seen necessary by the province.
The Group also recommended that an Environmental Impact Assessment Study be undertaken to determine the likely impact of the project on the communities in the area before the commencement of the project.
The Group noted that a new phenomenon emerging concerning interruption of use of public facilities on Malaita, which can hinder progress of development projects on Malaita, such as what is happening to Gwaunaru’u airport, if not addressed could also impact on the hydro project development and recommended that appropriate provisions be made in future agreements to avoid land owners and others disturbing and holding to ramson Public facilities as this will hinder National and Provincial projects.
The Malaita Leaders Reflection Group is an initiative of the Fiu resource owners, as reflected in its Strategic Work Plan: 2015-2017, to allow for wider participation and involvement of Malaita leaders and others in national projects in the province. It comprised of former Premiers of Malaita Province, Heads of Anglican, Catholic and South Seas Evangelical Church on Malaita and Women’s representatives on Malaita, formed to offer some insights and perspectives on the Fiu hydro project and makes it report to the Government and Malaita Provincial Government for consideration.