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Businesses that Oppose Development Works Pose A Worry for Govt

Businesses that Oppose Development Works Pose A Worry for Govt
Martintar, Nadi.
January 03
11:00 2018

Government will take action against businesses that have opposed the construc­tion of a service lane that will run parallel to the four-lane road at Martintar in Nadi.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said this had to be done to ensure that the plan to upgrade services in the area continued as planned.

The A-G recently took a tour of the area and was briefed by Fiji Roads Authority chief executive officer Jonathan Moore, executive members of Higgins Fiji and other senior officials.

Some businesses have been com­pensated for giving up portions of their property for the construction of the service lanes.

“Some businesses have been very co-operative, for example, given up a part of their property for a price, being compensated for that so that we can have the service lanes, so that we can have the widening of the road,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“For some of the properties we are legally involved where there will be a compulsory acquisition of some portions of the space, some of them are just a few feet. We went to see all of that, we went to see other things like the FEA substations that need to be moved back.

The service lanes are necessary to provide better traffic flow and to minimise congestion

“Ultimately we hope that these property owners come together and get on the same page because it is for the ultimate social good. It is for improving the infrastructure, the aesthetics, the flow of the traf­fic and ensuring that this remains good,” he said.

“Essentially we were looking at the finishing touches on the four-lane road and the other aspects of this road upgrade like the street lighting and the service lanes. The service lanes are roads that run parallel to the main four-lane road.

“For the strips at Martintar we have found that some property owners are not co-operative about having proper service lanes. We can talk about Fiji becoming like Singapore and other successful countries yet these businesses don’t want to contribute to the re­alisation of that goal.

“Some of them, despite being told that there will be service lanes in front of their property to give them better access as opposed to all individual shops have their own access to the highway which will not only be disruptive but actually dangerous for those in traffic, they have started doing up walls and started doing works in their prop­erty which is now going to be a hin­drance to the service lanes.”

Earlier, strong objections were highlighted by business owners citing reasons pertaining to ob­struction of private space for their patrons.

FRA chief Mr Moore said that having the service lanes was abso­lutely necessary to help ease traffic on what was generally a very busy highway.

“In order to accommodate the ser­vice lanes, areas of land need to be acquired – this is the source of ob­jection,” Mr Moore said.

“Compulsory acquisition pro­cess had begun for the portions of properties that was directly in the way of the service lane being con­structed.

“The acquisition process has started. Surveys have been carried and we are in the process of issu­ing acquisition documents to land­owners.”

When asked if he could reveal the names of the businesses Mr Moore said because legal proceedings have begun it would not be appropriate.

“We hope to have the lanes by March this year, but with the legal proceedings underway it would be inappropriate to disclose the details (reveal names of business­es),” he said.

Repeated attempts to get com­ments from several businesses sta­tioned along the Martintar Road stretch proved unsuccessful by the time this story was printed.

Edited by Percy Kean


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