NATION

Balaga Bay Reconstruction Works In Savusavu On Hold, Improper EIA

The Department of Environment has sent out a stop notice to a contracting company that was building boulder retaining walls along Balaga Bay in Savusavu.
15 Oct 2019 12:56
Balaga Bay Reconstruction Works In Savusavu On Hold, Improper EIA
From left: The Permanent Secretary for Environment Joshua Wycliffe during his routine inspection in the North on October 2, 2019 with environment officers based in Labasa, Kesaia Sovosi and Tevita Vuniwaqa at the site where a boulder wall was being built at Balaga Bay, Savusavu. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua

The Department of Environment has sent out a stop notice to a contracting company that was building boulder retaining walls along Balaga Bay in Savusavu.

The RPA Group Fiji Limited, was contracted by the Fiji Roads Authority to work on the project.

Permanent Secretary for Environment Joshua Wycliffe said they had a whistleblower who raised the concern that the contractor was removing rocks from the ocean to restore the area.

He added that they appreciated the job done by the company in terms of protecting the bank where at one point the coastal waters were eroding the surface beneath the road, “so it’s critical that we protect it”.

However, he said the rocks had been removed without a proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) done.

“We need to know the impact it has and how it is going to disturb the marine environment,” she said.

A hole beneath the road caused by coastal waters. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

A hole beneath the road caused by coastal waters.
Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

Mr Wycliffe added that once a proper EIA was done and if the work was good to go considering all the impacts, the company would then proceed with the work.

Environment officer based in Labasa, Tevita Vuniwaqa, said the area was destroyed by Cyclone Winston so the contractors were working on restoring the area.

Director for Environment Sandeep Singh examining a coral-like stone on the site during their routine inspection rounds in the North on October 2, 2019. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

Director for Environment Sandeep Singh examining a coral-like stone on the site during their routine inspection rounds in the North on October 2, 2019. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

However, the proper process was not followed, now the work was on hold.

The FRA had not yet responded to questions when this edition went to press.

However, they said they were going to respond soon.

Department of Environment Labasa staff Sakaraia Talatu standing on the roadside where the soil has eroded because of the strong waves. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

Department of Environment Labasa staff Sakaraia Talatu standing on the roadside where the soil has eroded because of the strong waves. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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