Next phase of construction works on new Fale fono to begin

The next phase of construction works on the new Fale fono at Halamahaga is expected to continue.

The application by the Opposition MP Honorable Terry Coe for an injunction against the development was dismissed by the High court last month.

The project had stalled while the injunction application in the High court  was being dealt with.

The demolition and excavation works have been completed at the Halamahaga site.

Before commencing the next phase of construction works, the project team will have to inform the landowners and neighbors that development works will begin again and advise them of the conditions and the working hours.

“Unfortunately it’s taken quite a while to resolve the injunction so it required renegotiating some terms of the contract with the selected contractor. We believe we’ll be able to start the construction phase as soon as we can get the contract finalized so we expect to be able to do that in the next two to four weeks.” said Api Fiso – Project Manager

Fiso said the new fale fono is being constructed on crown land while the surrounding land is native land.

According to the project manager, due diligence have been carried out in this regard.

“The status of the land at Halamahaga there are different elements of the land, some are leased some are crown land some are in disputes. The land in which the Fale fono is intended to be built is crown land and that’s supported by the documentation of the Ministry of Justice.

“ We’ll continue with the project as we intended. Of course landowners and lessees are entitled to seek redress through the court but as far as we are aware we can continue with our project.”

The design of the new fale fono incorporates both the assembly and the cabinet buildings together. The development has an estimated cost of 5 million dollars, majority of the cost Fiso said is being funded by the New Zealand government.

The significant delays, Fiso said has created more costs for the construction but they believe they’ll still be able to operate within the directives given by government.

The additional costs are being absorbed by the contractor, Fiso said they are fortunate to get favorable terms given the length of time it has taken to get the construction underway.

The new Fale fono construction will take about 60 weeks to complete.

Story by Sofaia Koroitanoa

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