31 January, 2023, 4:49 pm Central - 30°C Rain

Municipal Councils now focus on mitigating measures related to drainage, flooding and other developments - Kumar

Municipal Councils now focus on mitigating measures related to drainage, flooding and other developments - Kumar

By Karishma Kumari
Friday 02/09/2022
Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar

The municipal councils are using multi-agency approaches to work on mitigating measures related to drainage, flooding and other developments and upgrades.

While debating on the review of the town councils' annual reports, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar says some of the recommendations made by the standing committee are that most towns and cities on flat places do not have proper drainage during high tides.

Therefore, the councils have been making assessments to improve drainage and flooding in towns and cities.

Kumar says since most councils rely on rates to deliver services, the councils' initiatives include the installation of more than 100 parking metres in different towns and cities, including children's park event bure, botanical garden coffee shop in Lautoka, market development plans in Savusavu, Levuka, Ba, Rakiraki, Namaka, Navua market, mini market development in Flagstaff, plan for mini market development in Mead Road, Raiwaqa, Nakasi and facilities such as Govind Park and Ratu Cakobau Park.

She also says that when the rate profiling was done, the councils found that people living abroad rented out homes and collected rent without paying any rates, while some house owners rented multiple flats, so the rate profiling has helped the councils come up with strategies to implement changes.

She says some councils have also developed standard operating procedures to guide their operations, and the municipal council is also working with local government to put in place stringent measures against absent landlords who are defaulting on rate payments.

Kumar says the municipal councils are also working together with the jurisdiction of the ministry of agriculture, which includes dog licensing and dog trapping, and that the council is also in corporation with Japan International Corporation Agency to assist in providing technical assistance for Savusavu, Rakiraki, and Tavua town dump sites.

She says while people are complaining about having no car park facilities in Stewart Street yet, they do not realise that the councillors in the past had sold the street car park. There was also corruption in the past where elected councillors were using money from the council for their own gain and that counsellors were abusing the system by having multiple meetings to make money from the allowances.

Kumar says that the Ministry of Local Government should review the Local Government Act and a committee should be appointed soon to carry out the review exercise for areas to be examined and considered for the best possible models for council member selection process, whether they should be appointed or elected.



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