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Nadi Town is Not Nadi City

Nadi Town is Not Nadi City
Traffic in front of a Jack’s of Fiji store in Nadi.
August 11
11:00 2018

Following two articles, one on the Nadi/Lautoka four lane and a second on a ‘City by the Sea’, both in the Fiji Sun, a number of responses were received about the regeneration of Nadi Town being made the priority.

The other two projects being put on the back burner so that the budgets could be di­verted to making Nadi the vibrant heart of the area.

 

Generally the alternative proposals re­volved around putting in new bridges at both ends of town to alleviate the huge traffic jams that occur during peak hours, mainly in the morning when vehicles are trying to get into or proceed through the single two lane street that is the main thoroughfare.

The holdup at the bridges is because the traffic in Nadi is grid-locked.

There were a number of other solutions aimed at addressing the difficult parking problems and adding amenities such as pub­lic toilets, rest areas, parks and open spaces any city should have.

The interesting thing is that, while the responders talked about the possibility of Nadi shortly becoming a city, their concept of Nadi City appears to be limited to the Old Town area pinched in between the two river systems and the Nadi back road.

There was also almost no mention of the is­sue of the annual flooding of the same area, created by the fact that the Old Town was built in the wrong place on a flood plain, a situation that would not be allowed to hap­pen now.

It is true that the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) proposal, now broadly accepted by Government, will sig­nificantly reduce the flood issues, but even the most optimistic timelines extend out over many years.

Issues

Most of the issues bought up by the re­sponders relate to traffic and parking and are particularly concerned about the slow trip to reach the roundabout at each end of town.

I have never seen a traffic count of the vehi­cles entering Nadi Town by final destination but I am sure that at least half keep going and exit the Old Town for a destination fur­ther out.

Such a count would be very enlightening.

There is a strong argument being discussed for the road starting at Wailoaloa junction to keep going after Narewa, cross the River and come out on the Highway somewhere near the Jack’s Navo facility, bypassing the town and feeding Martintar and Namaka one way and the southern suburbs the other way.

This would certainly reduce Nadi through traffic.

Rates

Under the Nadi City proposal the managing body, the council, would collect rates from property owners in an areas that includes Votualevu.

Rates would also be collected from all the developments out past the airport, areas to the east of the back road, Denarau and the Wailoaloa area behind the airport as well as extending incorporated areas south along the highway.

If Nadi is to ever become a true city, all the areas included in the new boundaries should be considered for the part they can play in creating a new, vibrant and internationally recognised city.

Nadi City is the whole, and any focus on the current Nadi Town is wrong given, that the majority of the revenue will be contributed by properties outside the Old Town.

Investors are already recognising the fact that the new Nadi City area offers opportu­nities and they are taking advantage of this.

The opportunity was created not by the an­nouncement of the concept of Nadi City (yet to become a reality) but by the completion of the four lane highway from the airport to Wailoaloa Junction, which had an immedi­ate and exciting effect on all the commercial activity in the areas it connects.

There is now almost as much commercial activity in the area of the new road as in the Old Town, and it is increasing every day.

Fiji Airways are investing a huge sum in the new Flight Academy in Namaka, and creating a very stylish building.

Just off the main road, particularly in Com­mercial Street, the food choice is now excel­lent and a number of Government offices have relocated.

International gateway

Town and country will attest to the large jump in construction applications that have appeared in the last twelve months and the estate agents are being kept very busy.

With the acceptance of the Nadi City con­cept and putting Nadi Town into perspective, a better and more modern plan can be devel­oped, achieving the Government’s objective to make Nadi City a true international gate­way to what has become the hub of the South Pacific.

How will Nadi City help with the problems of the Old Town area?

Firstly a significantly lower number of ve­hicles will want to try to push through Nadi and that will have a positive effect on the blockages.

Assisting this will be the shift of vehicles doing business or shoppers and people seek­ing entertainment to other areas.

Martintar has been growing rapidly of late because of the great access and it will con­tinue to expand.

Tu’s Place in Martintar is, according to Trip Advisor, the single most popular restau­rant in Nadi and other establishments are renovating and improving their game.

A large new shopping and commercial com­plex is about to be built opposite Namaka Primary School.

Developing for the future

Those interested in the future of the cur­rent Nadi Town need to start serious plan­ning on how to develop it for the future.

Many major cities in the world have an Old Town area, and they are generally successful commercially with both tourists and locals.

Or the Old Town area can continue to fight change, but the future will be hard to stop.

In doing this, it is necessary to drop en­trenched interests and look at the whole.

The town is an old commercial centre which is now struggling to compete with commer­cial development all around the town such as Nadi back road developments, Malolo, Navo and Korovuto commercial subdivision and the whole of Wailoaloa, Martintar, Namaka and Votualevu, Legalega and Waimalika next to Nadi Airport.

And, of course, Denarau Island.

There are plans for commercial develop­ment for Naisoso Island and Fantasy Island and Denarau Waters.

So, instead of building extra bridges into Nadi town it would be worth investing on creating more roads outside of Nadi Town centre since there will come a time when traffic passing through Nadi Town will be reduced.

And unless some good planning is done to revive Nadi Town it could risk being forgot­ten by many people.

Feedback: johnrossfiji@gmail.com

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