A bridge too far at Emten Lagoon; Malekula roadworks under way

A bridge too far: Emten lagoon already suffering from insufficient tidal drainage

Emten lagoon already suffering from insufficient tidal drainage – what impact on the environment will another bridge have?

Malekula roads are getting a boost with the PM appealing to Malekula stakeholders for co-operation in inaugurating the first phase of the Vt 1.8 billion road project. This will see China’s EXIM Bank assisting rehabilitation of the roadworks Norsup to Lakatoro and Litzlitz and Aob Corner to Unmet station. Many dozens of people were present Saturday for the PM’s unveiling of the “most ambitious road project” on Malekula, reported Daily Post. Roadworks have in the recent past caused political ill will and accusations.

Daily Post today also voices the concerns of persons residing on the Second Lagoon, Port Vila, and nearby custom owners that investors are intending to build a bridge across the Emten Lagoon opposite Pacific Suppliers to the small resort island on the southern side of the body of salt water. They are concerned that a bridge will further restrict the tidal flow of the lagoon, already interrupted by the projections which support the flow of water from the Erakor Lagoon to the channel joining both lagoons, thereby harming the environment in an area known as a fish breeding ground. It is not yet known how many mangroves may have to be removed for the bridge project. Promised public meetings to discuss the project have never occurred, so petitions to the Environment Department are being planned.

A clarification. The first three Negotiator Certificates towards land leases mentioned in the last Digest are not yet leases. They are just the documents which authorise the recipients to negotiate for a lease, recipients who have fulfilled all the conditions required by the Land Reform legislation and Land Planning and Management Committee to proceed to negotiation. It is the 15 Negotiator certificates which are on the Government’s 100 Day List, but leases may well take some time yet. However, at least there is great progress, as in over a year now, no Negotiator Certificates for rural and custom-owned land have been approved. Existing leases have been transferred, yes, but the new processes are designed to protect custom-owned land – the vast rural sector – from land grabs.

This week’s Vila Times has the PM declaring incorrect an Opposition backbencher’s claim a reshuffle is in the making. The PMO says this is not so.