Parliamentary Committee concerned about land agreements

Issues pertaining to the construction of the $14 million tala Ti’avea Airport have been raised by the Parliamentary Infrastructure Sector Committee following their visit to the project site.

In a report to Parliament, the Committee expressed concerns about the settling of land agreements between the Government and the families affected.

“The major problem encountered by the Authority for this development is the settling of agreements between families for the usage of their land,” the report reads.

“It is this problem that led the government to relocate the development to another area.”

The members of the Infrastructure Sector Committee are Tafua Maluelue Tafua, Olo Fit Vaai, Faumuina Wayne Fong, Fa’aulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers and Lauuli Polataivao Leauatea.

The Committee visited the project site on 3rd May 2019.

“The land area for this development is 34 acres; 30 acres is planned for the airport runway and the four acres is planned for the apron, terminal, building services and administration and car park.”   

In April, a memorandum of agreement between the Government and the Ti’avea Village Council was signed where it was revealed the project would cost $14 million.

The airport building and project will cost $10 million while the $4 million is compensation for the 26 acres of land belonging to Ti’avea families.

Away from the Tiavea Airport, the Committee raised other issues in relation to the Faleolo International Airport.

“The Committee emphasized to the Authority that it is a must to provide challenges to determine the progress of their work in the future,” the report reads.

“Despite this the Committee has taken into account a major threat the Authority had expressed, which has affected the northwest of the airport by sea waves and therefore requires construction of a seawall to protect the airport runway, staff and passengers.”

The Committee also advised the S.A.A. to establish policies to monitor the International Airport existing infrastructure as well as the utilisation of its assets. The Committee saw this as a priority.

“It has been recorded that there has been an increase of expenses on electricity which is attributed to the increase of assets added to the renovated airport such as air conditioning, lights, electric fans and many other additional assets.

“The Committee believes that having an assets usage plan will monitor the usage of electricity and is a cost effective measure for the Authority.”

The Committee urged the Airport Authority “to consider an appropriate and affordable cost for the usage of the newly attached aerobridges.

“This should be done to ensure that there is cost recovery maintenance for such asset in case they get damaged.”

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