Flooding concerns at Ti'avea Airport

The land where the Government is constructing the country's newest $14 million Airport at Ti'avea Airport is waterlogged.

Months into the construction, the contractor has had to install culvert pipes to ensure the new runway is not flooded.

The development was confirmed by the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, who told the Samoa Observer the problem was only discovered during earth works.

Asked if there was any feasibility study done on the area before the proposal was approved, Papali’i said the area was chosen because of its cleared pathway. 

“The only thing that was looked at first is the land area which is nice and clear from both sides and no mountains,” he said. 

“When constructions work was underway, it was then that it was discovered and we are glad it rained otherwise it would have rained later and the area would have been flooded. 

“But it has been addressed now with culvert pipes to prevent damage to the runway.”

The work on the airport runway is expected to be completed in September this year. 

Once the runway is completed, the Minister said works on the arrival and departure terminal and the administration office will be conducted. 

Papali’i reassured that the cost of the project is funded by the Samoa Airport Authority and does not require any funds from the Government’s main budget. 

The multi-million-tala project also caught the eye of the Parliamentary Infrastructure Sector Committee, following their visit to the site recently. 

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 La’auli Polataivao Leauatea.

The Committee visited the project site on 3 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 has an estimate cost of $10 million while the $4 million is compensation for the 26 acres of land belonging to Ti’avea families.

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