Why delay in $13m Church project

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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Overgrown grass surrounds the unfinished  building.

Overgrown grass surrounds the unfinished building.

The General Secretary of the biggest denomination in Samoa, Reverend Dr. Afereti Uili, has assured that the construction of the $13million tala Jubilee Church at Malua should be completed some time this year.

When exactly that will be, the General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S) does not know yet.

“This is not a house for a family which we can build today and expect it to finish tomorrow,” he told the Samoa Observer. “This is one of the biggest projects by the church and the engineers need time to monitor and implement every safety aspect in carrying out the construction of the Jubilee.”

Dr. Afereti was responding to questions from the Samoa Observer about the progress of the project. 

He dismissed claims that the progress of the project has been stifled by issues of finances. The project, which started in 2014, was initially estimated to cost $7m. 

At the time, the construction should have opened last year. 

But that did not happen.

Today, the cost of the project is reportedly $13million.

Last year, the Church's Chairman of the Finance Committee, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, confirmed that C.C.C.S had borrowed $15million from the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F) for the project – and other developments.

“The $15million is not only to complete the construction of the Jubilee Church, it is also to fund the other developments by the Church,” Le Mamea said at the time, adding that they were working extremely hard to control the church’s spending.

Yesterday at the project site, it was empty. 

There were no workers on site and a house used to be occupied by builders and helpers was empty. 

Overgrown grass have threated to take over the foundation of the building.

But Dr. Uili said the project is continuing.

“We’re awaiting the final costs of materials from the construction company,” he said.

 “These materials include the roof, ground floor, windows, steps and others… and hopefully we can get this done in the next few days.”

In the meantime, Dr. Uili said construction engineers are working to ensure the building meets all the requirements and safety standards.

The Samoa Observer understands that work on the project ceased towards the end of last year.

At the beginning of the year, the Church advertised for a “Clerk of Works” for this particular project.

“A clerk of works is an inspector on Construction site who checks to see that work is carried out properly and that health and safety rules are being followed,” the ad reads. 

“If you want a practical work and good at solving problems and have a good eye for detail, you could be the one the church is looking for.”

It could not be confirmed if the position has been filled yet.

Back in 2014, former General Secretary, Reverend Dr. Iutisone Salevao said six construction companies had expressed interest in the building.

Ii the end, the project was awarded to Shanghai Construction.

It was not possible to get a comment from Shanghai Construction yesterday.

 

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