Vaiusu Wharf not confirmed yet, Authority hits back
The General Manager of the Samoa Ports Authority (S.P.A.), So’oalo Kuresa So’oalo, has downplayed claims by the village of Vaiusu that they have yet to be consulted on the proposed $250 million wharf project.
“This project is not yet confirmed," said So'oalo. "It is only at the preliminary stage."
“We have only completed the feasibility study and until we receive the report, the wharf project is not yet firm.”
Last year, the Minister for the S.P.A., Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, said the architecture, design and the feasibility study for the project had been conducted by the Chinese Government.
Papali’i told the Samoa Observer the Chinese Government could fund the wharf, but they have not confirmed that officially, until the study is completed.
But So’oalo is optimistic that if the project follows through, the country will benefit in the long run.
So’oalo’s comments follow concerns raised by the Vaiusu Village Mayor, Ulugia Ierome Mulumulu, who said locals had not been consulted about the plans.
“Our village has been kept in the dark,” said Ulugia. “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."
However, So’oalo told the Samoa Observer the Government will only consult with the village when they are “ready to proceed with the project” but for the time being it is premature to come to that conclusion.
“The Government is obligated to consult with all the stakeholders including all the villages that are affected by this project, once we get the green light,” said So’oalo.
“However that has not happened yet, so there is no need to consult, unless the project is proceeding there is funding for the project.
“The feasibility study has been completed, but we are still waiting on the official report to determine the next move on this project.”
He said the project needed to be viewed as a potential benefit to Samoa.
“We are optimistic this project will benefit the Country, in what we are trying to do here and the government’s goals if this wharf does proceed,” said So’oalo.