Tamavua Action Group to petition against development close to Princes Road cliff edge
Project was approved in 2014 without public consultations and EIA, urgent geotech analysis needed - residents

Tamavua Action Group to petition against development close to Princes Road cliff edge

Project was approved in 2014 without public consultations and EIA, urgent geotech analysis needed - residents

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 28/09/2023
Aerial footage of the development site and surrounding residential properties

Members of the Tamavua Action Group who are residents in the Tamavua area are now gathering signatures to protest against the development close to the cliff edge of Princes Road which they say was approved in 2014 without proper public consultations and without an Environmental Impact Assessment.

A link of the petition is being widely circulated, and the petition will be presented to the Minister for Local Government, Maciu Nalumisa and Minister for Lands, Filimoni Vosarogo.

They are objecting to the planned construction of apartment blocks on Lot L-7, DP 5478 CT 21966 Princes Rd, which lies close to the cliff edge west of Princes Road.

The Tamavua Action Group says they understand that the approved plan involves building 6 apartment blocks on the lot - the first two, closest to the road were originally to be two storeys high; the second two, in the middle, three storeys high; and the final two closest to the cliff edge four storeys high.

The concerned group say they further understand that an amendment to the plan has recently been approved to allow the developer to add additional storeys to the apartment blocks.

fijivillage News has established that the developers are now building three storeys high apartment blocks for the first two, four storeys high for the middle two and four storeys high for the two closest to the cliff edge.

The Tamavua Action Group says this development was approved in 2014 without a public consultation which is a fundamental requirement in the Town and Country Planning Act.

They say this consultation would have provided residents of Tamavua with an opportunity to assess the nature of this major project and raise any objections that they might have had.

The concerned residents’ petition says the planning approval was granted without an Environmental lmpact Assessment. They say this is crucial as the development lies in an area with a well-documented history of geological instability.

They say specifically, it lies directly on an earthquake fault line.

Their concern is that increasing the load on the cliff edge in this manner could increase the immediate risk of circular slip failure, inducing mud-flows and/or boulder-rolls.

They say it also increases the risk of a major catastrophe in the event of an earthquake.

The Tamavua Action Group says for both reasons, they are concerned that the development could pose a major public safety issue, not least for the large settlement at the bottom of the cliff.

The petition states that in 2020, the Tamavua Action Group had raised its concern about high-rise developments along Princes Road from Calvary Temple to Tamavua Village with the Permanent Secretary of Local Government. The Group had received assurances that all high-rise developments west of Princes Road would be put on hold until a full geo-technical engineering assessment was undertaken.

They say other stakeholders, such as the Department of Mineral Resources and Suva City Council were in that meeting.

Following this meeting, the concerned group says the construction of this development was put on hold.

They say they are therefore concerned that construction has now resumed without any further consultation and without such a geo-hazard assessment.

The group says in the absence of an ElA, other environmental consequences of this large development, such as its impact on traffic congestion and infrastructure such as water and sewerage, have not been assessed.

The Tamavua Action Group says given the scale of this development, and the risks associated with it, they are petitioning the Government to suspend work on this development until a full EIA is undertaken.

They say it is important that the EIA contain a comprehensive geo-technical engineering assessment that is in sufficient detail to assure the public that the geo-hazard risks have been sufficiently analysed and addressed.

They further say the importance of such geo-technical analysis is amply demonstrated by the number of large developments in Suva that have run into difficulties, fortunately, so far, without triggering a risk to public safety.

We have raised the questions with the Minister for Local Government, Maciu Nalumisa and Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Filimoni Vosarogo.

Questions have also been sent to the Director of Environment, Sandeep Singh, Suva City Council CEO, Azam Khan, the managers of the project and Investment Fiji.

Full petition here: STOP Developments on Princes Road Without Proper Environment Impact Assessments (EIA)

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