Town signposted by year's end

The town area of Apia will be dotted with bright blue street signs it by the end of the year as the first phase of the national street naming project takes off.

Samoa’s first town area signs will be installed on Friday between the Clock Tower and the Samoa Tourism Authority office. The rest of the signs will go up in a two kilometre radius from the Clock Tower. 

The Land Transport Authority is commissioning somewhere between 100 and 150 signs to go around the town area, with as many as 75 per cent of the streets are already named from previous plans.

Any new street names will need to be approved by the Board of Geographic Naming, a body headed by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

The roads currently on the list for naming and numbering are only the public roads in the town area, not private access roads to homes.

It will cost Government $30,000 in funding, which has been set aside in the Supplementary Budget being debated in Parliament on Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance Leasiosiofa'asisina Oscar Malielegaoi confirmed on Monday.

He said the Government is intending to pay for the entire project itself, without any international grants, loans or external technical assistance or expertise.

“The 12 member task-force agreed to use existing resources, meaning they will provide their own staff, resources and computers to assist in lowering the costs of this project. We are confident we can do it with the resources we have, even outside of the first two kilometre radius,” Leasiosiofa’asisina said.

“Much of this technology is the engagement of global positioning systems (G.P.S.) which Government has clear policies on,” Ulu Bismarck Crawley, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said.

In the future, post and mailing using existing zip codes will be built into the new address system but for now the intention is to “start small,” he added. 

The draft plan will undergo consultation on issues such as which roads will be named; a decision that will be guided by their relative size and surrounding population. 

But Leasiosiofa’asisina said the most important concern was that no one would be left behind and that all streets and roads would be assigned names.  

The task force, recently approved by Cabinet, is composed of members from six Government Ministries and six Government agencies, including state-owned utilities and the Office of the Electoral Commissioner.

The major multi-ministry effort is intended to boost commerce, tourism and improve emergency service responses in step with the country's development. 

“We can no longer ignore certain developments which will support key sectors,” Leasiosiofa’asisina said. 

“For tourism, we want our guests to spend every tala that they bring into the local economy and to ensure we achieve that we want to specifically pinpoint key locations for our visitors to visit.”

Improving market access for farmers is another priority of the addressing project, he said. 

Once the town area is fully named and numbered, the taskforce can move onto the rest of Samoa. 

The fact that it is the most densely populated area means it represents the bulk of the work, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Magele Hoe Viali, said. 

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