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Road Firm Erects Vatukalo Community Hall

Vatukalo Village on Ovalau in the Lomaiviti Group has a new community centre. The sturdy new building is the result of efforts by its villagers working with a voluntary crew
28 Oct 2016 11:15
Road Firm Erects Vatukalo Community Hall

Vatukalo Village on Ovalau in the Lomaiviti Group has a new community centre.

The sturdy new building is the result of efforts by its villagers working with a voluntary crew from Fulton Hogan Hiways Joint Venture, as well as a team from the parent company, Fulton Hogan, New Zealand.

Fulton Hogan raised more than $200,000 for the project.

Vatukalo’s previous centre was lost to Cyclone Winston earlier in the year that also caused major damage to the village.

Population of about 300 residents, Vatukalo is located one kilometre south of the FHH maintenance depot on Ovalau. Now nearing completion, the centre will be used by the villagers for community activities and provide a safe haven should further cyclones occur.

FHH was supported by a core team of four from Fulton Hogan. As a number of employees from the FHH Levuka Depot are from Vatukalo, FHH general manager, Duncan Fraser, said: “Getting involved with this project was an opportunity to contribute to the community.

“This has been a humbling experience for us and a privilege to be undertaking this work. It’s only when you get close to the ground that the full impact of the cyclone hits home,” he said.

The FH team was led by its asphalt department estimating manager, Kerry Earl, ably supported by carpenters, Kenny Brown and Manu Vailahi, and project assistant, Karen Shepherd. In addition, approximately 20 FHH personnel were also involved and worked on alternating shifts, with a number also coming in from Suva.

Following TC Winston, a fundraising effort was undertaken by the team and, under the leadership of Kerry Earl, this grew to involving both suppliers and customers.

“Not only was he able to raise funds to completely rebuild the community centre, he was also able to raise funds to assist in the repair of a school on Taveuni,” said Mr Fraser.

Speaking on behalf of the village chief, Luke Sikiveta said that the villagers of Vatukalo were “grateful” and “fortunate” to be assisted by both teams from Fulton Hogan Hiways and Fulton Hogan New Zealand.

 

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