Church to get $4 million for Games accommodation

The Methodist Church will be paid $4 million for hosting up to 3500 athletes at its Faleula complex.

Pacific Games Office Chief Executive Officer, Falefata Hele Matatia, confirmed the payment when discussing the cost of the July 2-22 regional sporting event with reporters.

He said all the contracts connected to the games have been confirmed.

“So far, with preparations right now is that, we have already given that under a criterion of each contracts, and so this has already been confirmed,” he said.

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The church-owned complex at Faleula comprises three schools, a large church and over 50 buildings and houses. It will be transformed into the official Games Village and will feature an athlete center, a sports information center and Chef de Mission Offices.

Last month a delegation from Tahiti inspected the church-owned complex and said it will be “quite challenging” as they are bringing over 540 athletes. 

But Falefata, when asked to comment on the concerns expressed by the Tahitians, said: “I mean, what’s the issue? That’s not what they said when we had our meeting, and I think that’s all, they misinterpreted what we said. But the Methodist compound have been well prepared for the athletes. I think they took it out of context, when they said ‘it’s going to be challenge’ living so close together but inside that compound, it’s very big. It’s a big help. In the Methodist compound, it’s a big complex, it can house everyone.”

According to the Pacific Games Office CEO, pastors will vacate their homes within the Faleula complex, clearing the way for athletes to use them. 

“I think everyone has their own opinions but as we all know, in these situations, all athletes usually stay in school buildings. But now, pastor’s homes at the compound are being made vacant especially for them, so this is a big help and an upgrade for the athletes that they won’t be staying in school compounds and such,” he said.

Falefata said he is confident everything will fall in place “once the shots are fired”. 

More than 1000 technical officials and delegates will stay in selected hotels, who signed agreements with the Government last year to provide accommodation. 

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