The Director of Environment will make a decision on the proposed project to create surf waves in Qamea after rigorously following the mandated Environment Impact Assessment processes specified under the Environment Management Act 2005.
Permanent Secretary for Environment, Joshua Wycliffe confirms that so far, the Director of Environment has not made any decision to approve the project.
This, he says, will only be done once the EIA report has been submitted.
His comment comes following an EIA public consultation on the proposed project held in Naselesele, Taveuni yesterday.
Customary fishing rights owners questioned why the project is still being entertained despite their rejections, adding that they do not want any such development in their waters.
Lead consultant Epeli Nasome told the consultation the government is aware of the proposed project and has set out a list of things to be done before the green light is given.
According to Wycliffe, the project lead of World Wave Project-Fiji submitted an EIA application to the Department of Environment on August 20, 2021.
The proposal, he says, includes the modification of 3-5 reefs to generate the prototype waves for surfing.
Wycliffe says following the EIA screening process, the Director of Environment issued the proponent a determination on August 31, 2021.
He says the proposal has potentially significant environmental and resource management impacts, so it requires a detailed EIA to be undertaken.
Wycliffe confirms that a Terms of Reference (TOR) for the EIA was issued on October 12th, last year and requires a detailed biological and ecological impact assessment, including any loss of, damage to, and alteration of the reef structure and ecological functions as a direct impact of the proposed development.
The Permanent Secretary also confirms that they have received and registered concerns from the public regarding the proposed development and the potential negative impacts it might have on their businesses and the marine environment.
This has been conveyed to the concerned stakeholders.
Wycliffe adds that they are also aware that the consultants for the proposed development are carrying out consultations with resource owners and other relevant stakeholders in Taveuni and Qamea.
The proposed development is listed under Schedule 2 Part 1 of the Environment Management Act 2005.