Hotel praises bridge project for protection from flooding

The management of a major hotel in Samoa has praised the Government for the Vaisigano Bridge construction project, which has ensured businesses next to the river are protected during the rainy season.

The Director of Operations at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows, Frank Lu, told the Samoa Observer that the hotel’s vulnerability to flooding during the rainy season has been significantly reduced since the construction of cement walls along the banks of Vaisigano River.

"Since the Government built the back walls, it is much safer and much more protective for us compared to the past years,” he said. “At the moment we aren't facing any difficulties with the river and we are confident that the walls will prevent flooding for the hotel.”

When asked how confident he is with the walls holding out, he said they have been monitoring the river and he is confident that the cement walls will hold. 

“So far so good I am very confident that the walls will stand for a good period of time because we have been monitoring the water level daily, if so there will be a flood and the water exceeds the walls then we will have to activate our emergency plans and move everyone to higher floors or evacuate if  it worsens.”

The hotel was one of the worst-hit businesses during the 2012 Cyclone Evan disaster, with flooding triggered by the river getting into the hotel’s first floor, to force the evacuation of both guests and staff members. 

“It took a while to recover everything, especially our furniture and repairing rooms and other personal belongings that were also damaged. The walls are higher (today) and providing security for us and I am certain that they will stand even when a cyclone approaches,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lu has indicated that the hotel management has met with the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) to raise its concerns about the close proximity of the main road to the hotel, saying the noise from traffic is affecting their guests. 

"The road closer is sort of affecting our guests, most people don't know their way around with the road constructed too, the one way drive is a bit difficult for them as they find their way when returning" he said. 

"We had a meeting with the Land Transport Authority, in regards to the road closure, we asked if there is a possibility for Sheraton to stand and what can be done for us and our guests as we transport them through the road.”

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