Malaela spring pool in makeover to woo tourists
The village of Malaela has officially opened their spring pool after the scenic sight underwent a $50,000 makeover.
The total cost of the project was $50,000 and was funded through the Samoa Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) in partnership with Australian Aid, European Union, World Bank Group and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project was coordinated by Samoa Adventist Development Rural Agency (ADRA).
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment provided over 600 tree species for the replanting exercise, while approximately 100 fruit trees were supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Lautafi Fio Purcell, said that the village expressed interest in developing the spring pool as a tourism attraction, and the Government decided to support the project.
“New emerging trend in tourism is those tourists that prefer beautiful surroundings apart from just the beach and hotels. Sustainability is very important and coming from Malaela Aleipata, I used to swim in this pool in 1968, wishing one day someone will upgrade it.
“Today, I witness this day, which I thank Lesamatauanuu Foni Retzlaff—paramount chief of Malaela—and Leota Ioane Sua, village mayor together with the village,” he said.
Tuioti Sakaria, who spoke on behalf of ADRA, expressed their gratitude to Malaela for its efforts to ensure the project was completed, and highlighted the importance of maintaining the spring pool and its surroundings.
According to the Malaela village mayor, Leota Sua, his village were amongst the victims of the 2009 tsunami, which devastated the eastern side of Upolu Island.
“The impact of the tsunami left behind unprecedented infrastructural damages. But the stream is a natural home to fish, eels, prawns and mud-crabs nurtured by fresh water lilies and the surrounding mangrove ecosystems.
“The springs have been used by the village over the years for bathing, washing and drinking during drought and water shortage.
“Apart from psychological impact on people, marine and fresh water species that once thrived in Aleipata, spring pools became contaminated, silting of waterways was overwhelming, various tree species uprooted, reef decimated and corals washed away,” he said.
Leota added that due to the impact of the tsunami and with skilled-labour migration, it left the village with diminishing options in terms of opportunities to generate income to improve livelihoods.
“The cost of the spring pool upgrade – design, labour, cementation, excavation and fence was $40,803.90, a new screen house for nursing tree species was valued at $4,876.10, and cleaning of waterways/pool by the village was $4,320.
“The village in-kind was estimated $70,000 – labour cost, food & drinks, carpenter, stones/gravel, beautification.
“We also acknowledge Lesamatauanu’u Foni Retzlaff and the village council of Malaela for the tremendous support of all donors and partner in particular the Government of Samoa,” Leota added.
While the village’s goal for the project was the refurbishment of the spring pool, Leota said there is still a need for further development, as a long-term investment to become an eco-tourism attraction in the near future.