We should always be cautious that investments in tourism do not come at a cost to both our environment and our people - Gavoka

We should always be cautious that investments in tourism do not come at a cost to both our environment and our people - Gavoka

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 08/02/2023
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism Viliame Gavoka

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Viliame Gavoka stresses that the value of our natural resources weighs heavily with us, so consultations regarding the proposed $600 million Tian Lun Square project along Queen Elizabeth Drive must be inclusive and thorough.

Gavoka says they welcome investments in Fiji's tourism, but he stresses we should always be cautious that this does not come at a cost to both our environment and our people.

He understands that the Environment Impact Assessment is yet to be completed.

Gavoka says they have laws to ensure protection of our resources and sustainability of investments.

He also says compliance must be total adhering to all the relevant environment laws of Fiji.

Meanwhile there has been another postponement of the public consultation relating to the proposed project along Queen Elizabeth Drive by Tian Lun Investment Limited.

Many residents were ready for the consultation to be held from 6pm to 8pm tonight at the Royal British Legion at Lot 7 Domain Road.

However organizers have issued a notice, saying the meeting has been postponed temporarily due to a sewage problem at the Royal British Legion Office.

Concerned residents are wondering why there was no publicity about such a huge project that will affect the environment along Queen Elizabeth Drive.

Firstly, they raised concerns that the consultations with the public was scheduled on the Christmas Day public holiday last year.

They ask what was the intention to hold it on that day as they would definitely get poor turnout.

When fijivillage News raised this issue with the Department of Environment at the time, the public consultation meeting was postponed to a later date.

It was then set for tonight with a location given with no address.

Residents again raised concerns and we contacted the organizers.

They then changed the venue of the meeting saying that the Royal British Legion will have more space.

The Environment Department will assess the outcome of the consultations and then expect an Environmental Impact Assessment report before making the final decision on whether the project can go ahead.

The project called Fiji Tian Lun Square is proposing to have office facilities, hotels, apartments and a residential landscape.

General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, Reverend James Bhagwan has already made a plea to the government to cancel the lease for the state land and state tiri land and not allow the proposed $600 million investment project along Queen Elizabeth Drive by Tian Lun Investment Limited.

In a video released to fijivillage News by Reverend Bhagwan, he says the people of Fiji need to oppose this proposed project which could end up getting a 99 year lease from the Ministry of Lands.

A five year lease was issued by the Lands Ministry in 2018.

Reverend Bhagwan says the government needs to send a clear message by revoking the lease.

We have sent questions to Lands Minister, Filimoni Vosarogo. He is yet to respond.

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