By Meleasie Goviro – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Site works have already commenced at the Independence Boulevard Precinct and Stage 2 of the Ela Beach Precinct. Both projects are expected to be Grand National Infrastructures once they are complete; but, not without necessary compromises.
Both Precincts were officially launched yesterday (July 10), by the NCD Governor Powes Parkop and Justin Tkatchenko in his capacity as the Lands Minister.
The Independence Boulevard Precinct will consist of
- a brand new six-lane road;
- two footpaths five meters wide;
- street lights and path lights on both sides;
- three traffic lights;
- five distinct natural parks;
- and a grand parade access into the Parliament
The new Boulevard will be used like any other road on normal days. However, on days of National Importance, the entire Boulevard will be closed off for public celebrations.
There will be no other driveway access or access roads to the Independence Boulevard.
Governor Parkop says plans for the Parade Access into Parliament have already been approved and is expected to be majestic. Apart from National Celebrations, it will also be used to host extravagant receptions for foreign delegate visits to the parliament.
But it comes with a price; 260 meters of land in the vicinity of the current site will be reclaimed as state land for the construction of the Boulevard. Landowners, especially those under the Urban Development Lease Arrangement (UDLs) are expected to put up a fight.
Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko said while he is expecting push-back from UDLs, it was a necessary move. He said: “I’m sure some people hearing this will be quite upset, and some might run to the court, but bad luck.
“We are doing this for the public good…for public recreation because our public space in the city, is getting depleted left, right and center.”
Meanwhile, NCD has almost secured all the existing waterfront from Paga Hills land to Koki Fish Market and will be securing titles or declaration of reserves in the next few weeks. NCD will now own portions 3611, 2848, 4061 and 4069; 97.45 hectares of the waterfront.
Stage 2 of the Ela Beach Precinct alone will extend 13.16 hectares of reclaimed land, from the third groyne to the Koki Fish Market.
NCDC plans to link Koura Way to Sir William Skates Highway at Baruni Bypass and use the excavated material as infill to reclaim stage two of Ela Beach.
“NCDC will do excavation from that road, and use it to landfill and develop stage 2”
The entire water front will be owned by NCDC, two-thirds of which will be meant for public recreational facilities including the beach.
But NCDC does not have enough funds needed to complete both Stage 2 of the Ela Beach Precinct and the Koura-Baruni road independently. To cover the shortfall, half of the remaining land will be sold to a developer under a Public-Private-Partnerships agreement with NCDC. Under this agreement, the developer is expected to fund the cost of the road and stage 2 of the Ela beach precinct. Governor Parkop said: “NCDC is structuring it in such a way that it will cost zero kina to the city residents.”
“NCDC will lease it out to a private partner, who will come up with the money to do the road and in return, we give them part of the land.”
NCDC also plans on building a jetty in one of the groynes for regular tourist ferries to either Manubada or Fisherman Island. Negotiations with landowners to convert the Fisherman Island are underway. Governor Parkop said: “NCDC will start looking at the Fisherman Island, to develop that beautiful Island into a good holiday resort…for both local and international tourists…”
The Independence Boulevard is expected to be completed between the end of September and early November at the cost of K40 million, given in grant from the Chinese Government.
“This gift [from the Chinese Government], the Boulevard, is consistent with our status as the National Capital District,” The NCD Governor remarked when extending his gratitude to the Chinese Government.
Ela Beach Precinct is expected to cost about K50 million and completed sooner in mid-September, 2018.