Questions over Nadi Town becoming a City

the past week it was announced that a series of consultations would be undertaken by a government committee on the possibility of Nadi Town becoming a City. The news of
05 Dec 2015 10:30
Questions over Nadi Town becoming a City

the past week it was announced that a series of consultations would be undertaken by a government committee on the possibility of Nadi Town becoming a City.

The news of this created a great deal of interest, some people for the idea but, most against.

This doesn’t mean that there is widespread opposition to the concept, indeed it is usual for the people who are against an issue to be more vocal than the supporters.

But some interesting comments and attitudes were exposed and are worth sharing.

The most common comment was “what are they talking about? I have never seen any plans for a city and it looks just like they are only trying to expand the boundaries to get a bigger revenue pie”.


People reaction

On questioning the people who should be in the know, it appears that this is the case. There is no plan of what Nadi City would look like or where it would be located, although it seems the current administration is looking at keeping the existing location, but expanding from there.

Many people found this strange. Their attitude is that if the people advocating the move are passionate about it, they should have some concrete ideas about what can be done to solve the difficult position Nadi Town finds itself in.

They also believe that there should be a much grander concept, something that would make Nadi a satisfying place to live and do business in.

It was pointed out that JICA had presented a plan to fix the flooding problem. But there is an air of cynicism about the likelihood of this really happening, reinforced by the many schemes that have been proposed in the past and never seen the light of day.


Other issues

But more importantly, there is a long list of other issues the people see as needing to be fixed and there is no mention of these in the discussions so far.

The traffic in Town is terrible and there doesn’t seem to be a solution. Amenities in Town are poor, there is no space for the Town to grow, and many other comments have been made.

There are a number of people who support the concept, but they all ask similar questions. It seems that (so far, at least) there is very limited awareness on the subject .

About two years ago, John Gray, one of the better known designers in Nadi, raised the subject of his vision of “Nadi, City by the Sea” at a conference sponsored by Nadi Chamber of Commerce.

This received fairly wide media coverage, but was only a vision, and no firm details were presented.

Many people thought this was an idea that needed to be looked into, but there was no funding available and the idea languished.

But it was different to the current idea being presented. Nadi Town was a part of the concept, but as a precinct of a much greater city.

The idea was presented before the South Denarau integrated tourism development started and the work now being carried out has to some degree, superseded John’s original concept.

John says “there is still a great need for there to be a beautiful, modern, vibrant City as the focus for the most important industry in Fiji (and the South Pacific), the tourism industry.


Denarau development vision

When Dennis McIlwraith took the initiative and started to build Denarau everyone deserted him.

But without a dreamer like this the Jewel in the Crown of Fiji Tourism would not exist and Fiji tourism would be much weaker.

He believes that there needs to be a committee that includes representation from a number of the Denarau resorts and the major developers in  Nadi , if anything is ever going to happen.


Some suggestions

From the reaction of the resorts it is clear that for the concept to work, Nadi City would need to rise to its standards, not the reverse, which is basically the current proposal.

Comments from a reasonable cross-section of people covered a number of suggestions.

They said the cluster of government offices in Town should be relocated to an area in the CAAF Compound and for Namaka to become the centre of Nadi City.

Also all crown land in the wider boundaries should be rezoned and development encouraged, a full traffic management plan should be in place before the City is relocated, swamps around the new City boundaries have to be drained to create a healthy environment.

At the same time civic buildings and sporting facilities need to be built in precincts close to Namaka, or on land along Denarau Road.

A Botanical Garden should be created in the new City and the flat lands around Waikadra would be a good place for facilities that will not be affected by flooding.

Also enough public parking has to be planned in the city, rates will need to be increased across the board and collected by an elected Council and more open spaces, parks, sports areas and gardens have to be created.

In almost every case people considered that if there was to be a City, it needed to move away from the current Town location because the flooding and traffic issues were a real impediment to a strong commercial future.


Government support necessary

They believed that the concept should not proceed until full planning was completed and widely discussed.

Most of the feedback says that unless the Government is right behind the concept, it is an exercise in futility.

A full plan, maybe with the help of international consultants, needs to be in place before anything else is done. The population is already on the move and making their own plans and this will not give the best results.

The Government Committee will continue to hold discussions and it is believed that a recommendation will be prepared and published.

Even if the Committee recommends that the concept proceed there will be lengthy legal issues and other matters that need to be addressed before any first step can be taken towards the creation of “Nadi City by the Sea”.

nJohn Ross is a Nadi-based marketing and advertising specialist with a long background in tourism. For feedback on this article, please email him:

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