Company claims support for plant
13 March, 2019, 10:15 am
WHILE Hydro Viti Levu Pty Ltd claims that majority of the landowners in Namosi supported the proposal for the construction of a hydropower plant in the province, yesterday’s consultation proved otherwise.
The company claimed that landowners supported the idea from previous consultations, however, about 50 people present at an environmental impact assessment (EIA) consultation for the project in Navua yesterday, raised concerns against the development of the Wainikoroiluva, Wainikovu and Waivaka hydropower project.
Waivaka Village headman Petero Leveni said they continued to question the EIA because a project carried out a few years ago had an EIA, but failed.
“They have to guarantee that we will not be relocated from our villages and they won’t get flooded,” Mr Leveni said.
“We are not only speaking for ourselves, but on behalf of our children who will be here in the years to come.”
The EIA states that the proposed project will be built on native land governed by iTaukei Land Trust Board and portions of the unoccupied land owned by various clans (mataqali) and tribes (yavusa) located upstream and downstream from the Wainikovu creek will be inundated by the reservoir to be developed upstream.
These mataqali and yavusa include the Mataqali Natuvora, Nasamita, Naqelekautia, Nakorobalavu, Nawaisomo and Yavusa Nabukebuke Nakavu and Yavusa Nabukebuke Namosi. Hydro Viti Levu Pty Ltd co-founder Dr Philip Van der Riet assured the villagers that there would be minimum impact on the environment and promised them that no village would be flooded or relocated.
Senior assistant Roko Tui Namosi Filimoni Taka said the Namosi Provincial Council would not take any sides and that they would only stick by the law.
“The owners of the landowning units have the last say on what is to be done to their land however, the Namosi Provincial Council will make the effort to explain the project or development clearly and will not take any sides,” Mr Taka said.
“We will facilitate and assist during the consultation but we will stand by the law.”