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Malolo landowners speak their mind on development

February 11, 2019 8:07 am

The Landowners of Wacia on Malolo Island where a new resort is to be constructed are ensuring that proper procedures are followed.

Speaking exclusively to FBC News, landowner representative Amani Sokoverata says they’ve been working closely with the government to ensure that breaches by the developer is remedied.

Sokoverata says the current breach by the Freesoul Real Estate is only to do with the traditional fishing grounds belonging to the Solevu landowners.

He says the developer will also construct more than a hundred villas over the water.

According to Sokoverata a stop notice has been issued for these works, however, the development on the land will still go ahead as it has been approved by the relevant ministries.

FBC News was at the development site over the weekend and our drone pictures indicate that works around the foreshore has ceased.

There were also claims that the landowners are being represented by Dr Kenneth Chambers as their lawyer, however, Sokoverata has refuted this.

Solevu villager Orisi Vukinavanua says they are not happy with how things have been handled by the developers.

Vukinavanua says that if the mangroves are destroyed they will not have any more fishing ground.

The Director of Public Prosecutions on Friday sanctioned charges against the developer under the Environment Management Act for failing to comply with a prohibition notice issued by the Waterways and Environment Ministry last year.

Lands Minister Ashneel Sudhakar also sent a team to the site to investigate the development as their records show no license or lease issued to the developer for construction work while the environment ministry has sought legal action.

FBC News has made several attempts to get a response from the developer Dickson Peng over the last week.

Attempts were made again yesterday at his home in Suva to get a response but to no avail.

Initially, the proposed resort was to include overwater villas, restaurants, a club, a casino, as well as beachfront units, ridge units, a kindergarten, a spa, and back-of-house facilities, however, after conducting an EIA, the number of accommodation units was reduced from 351 to 102, and the decision was made by government not to permit a casino.