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STOP Developments on Princes Road Without Proper Environment Impact Assessments (EIA)

STOP Developments on Princes Road Without Proper Environment Impact Assessments (EIA)

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This petition has been created by Josiah K. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Josiah K.
started this petition to
Maciu Nalumisa, Minister for Local Government Filimoni Vosarogo, Minister for Lands
We consulted with our members in the Tamavua Action Group and wish to present this petition to express our objection 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. We 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 stories high; the second two, in the middle, three stories high; and the final two closest to the cliff edge four stories high. We further understand that an amendment to the plan has recently been approved to allow the developer to add additional stories to the apartment blocks.

Our objection to this development stems from the following concerns:

1.) This development was approved in 2014 without a public consultation which is a fundamental requirement in the Town and Country Planning Act. 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.

2.) Planning approval was granted without an Environmental lmpact Assessment (ElA). This is crucial as the development lies in area with a well-documented history of geological instability. Specifically, it lies directly on an earthquake fault line. Our 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. lt also increases the risk of a major catastrophe in the event of an earthquake. For both reasons, we are concerned that the development could pose a major public safety issue, not least for the large settlement at the bottom of that cliff.

3.) 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 Rd would be put on hold until a full geotechnical engineering assessment was undertaken. Other stakeholders, such as the Department of Mineral Resources and Suva City Council were in that meeting. Following this meeting construction of this development was put on hold. We are therefore concerned that construction has now resumed without any further consultation and without such a geohazard assessment.

4.) Lastly, in the absence of an ElA, other environmental consequences of this Iarge development, such as its impact on traffic congestion and infrastructure such as water and sewerage, have not been assessed.

Given the scale of this development, and the risks associated with it, we are therefore petitioning the Government to suspend work on this development until a full EIA is undertaken. lt is important that the EIA contain a comprehensive geotechnical engineering assessment that is in sufficient detail to assure the public that the geohazard risks have been sufficiently analysed and addressed. The importance of such geotechnical 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.

Furthermore,  we would request that Suva City Council suspend all further major developments along Princes Road until a full geotechnical analysis of the area is completed and the Government has finalized its zoning proposal for the city’s future development.

ln the interim, we are petitioning the government to make publicly available the development plan approved by Suva city council and any geohazard and environmental analysis undertaken when the development was approved.

Finally, we would ask that the Suva City Council be required hold a public consultation before construction on this major project is allowed to resume, so that the neighborhood finally has an opportunity the assess the potential impact of this project and have its opinions heard.

Yours sincerely.

Mr. Azaam Khan, Acting CEO, Suva City Council
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Local Government
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources

Posted (Updated )