Mayor says village remains in dark about wharf project

The village of Vaiusu continues to be in the dark about the Government’s proposed $250 million tala wharf project that was to be funded by China.

Vaiusu Village Mayor, Ulugia Ierome Mulumulu, told the Samoa Observer that they and other villages located within the vicinity of the proposed project site, are yet to be updated on any progress relating to the project.

“Our village has been kept in the dark," he said. "We don’t know what’s happening and that’s why we cannot say much about this project as we have not heard from the Government.

“There have also been no consultations with the villages which is what’s expected to happen so there’s no other news regarding this.

“Maybe the Government will contact us soon regarding this when they’re ready and it’s not just us, other villages beside us are also a part of this.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi announced in June last year that the $250 million project will be funded by the Chinese government, though he claimed that the discussions to build the wharf began during the time of Prime Minister Tupua Tamasese Lealofi between 1970-73.

The Vaiusu Bay, according to Tuilaepa at that time, is 90 feet deep and the proposed project area is shielded from high waves and underwater waves, which he claimed is not like the Matautu Bay. 

Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster — a former member of Parliament with expertise in biodiversity conservation, ecological surveys and resource management — told the Samoa Observer in June last year the cost of the project is too big a price for the affected communities to pay.

“We need the look at the other very real costs to the people of Samoa, these include relocating the majority families of the coastal side of villages from Toamua to Sogi.  As many as 10-20,000 people and businesses in this part of Faleata will need to be relocated," he said in a commentary, which was published in the June 16, 2019 edition of the Samoa Observer.

"This whole area will be monopolised for the construction and dedicated to the wharf solely when its operational.

“The breadth and depth of environmental costs are infinite. Highlighting a few such as loss of biodiversity, loss of significant ecosystems, flooding, and increasing vulnerability to climate change natural disasters are too obvious not to highlight. 

"The intricate balance between environmental issues and income and livelihood must be expressed.”

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