The Fiji Times » ‘No weapons, ammunition will be kept at the centre’

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Residents of Lami have been informed that no weapons or ammunition will be kept at the proposed Maritime Essential Services Center (MESC) on Naimawi Street.

They were also informed that the MESC could not be established in Togalevu due to soil integrity issues and could not be built on the Bilo Battery gun site as it was an area of ​​the national heritage.

This was explained to Lami residents who opposed the $56million facility being built at Naimawi St in a consultation held last week.

Facilitated by the Ministry of Defence, the forum also included representatives from the Fiji Maritime Safety Authority, iTaukei Land Trust Board, Fiji Water Authority, Energy Fiji Ltd , Fiji Roads Authority, Department of Environment, Lami Town Council, Department of Urban and Rural Development. and a health inspector.

Ministry of Defense officials explained that a geotechnical assessment had been conducted and concluded that the land at the Togalevu naval base was not viable for the construction of a two-storey building or anything. more.

They also said that establishing a 3DP coastal radio station in Togalevu which would broadcast alerts and warnings to seafarers was not viable in terms of altitude.

Defense Ministry officials said it needed to be located near water but “at a certain altitude” to fully cover Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

They said the Bilo Battery gun site had been ruled out because it was a national heritage area.

According to the ministry, the proposed site was a civic area, which meant that it belonged to the crown state.

Unlike previous consultations, a large number of Lami residents gathered at the Catholic parish hall in Lami and posed questions to the authorities. When asked if weapons and ammunition would be visible once construction was complete, Defense Ministry officials said the project was not a military installation and was in no way intended to militarize The area.

Ministry of Defense staff said the aim of the consultation exercise was to address some of the issues raised during a community outreach held on Monday, August 1.

They said the first consultation was conducted in July 2019, the second in December 2021, which was followed by the third local industry engagement forum in February 2022, a sevusevu to landowners in July 2022 and new consultations in August of this year.


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