Fingers crossed

Hopes high for Anuha airport re-opening as Gov’t dialogue with landowners


ANUHA Island, known as the Pearl of Solomons, may spring back to life as the government sets to re-open Anuha airfield.

After 30 years of negligence after the resort closed in 1988, there is renewed hope as the Government has continued talks with landowners of the area.

A high-level government delegation led by the Minister for Culture and Tourism (MCT) Bartholomew Parapolo, Minister for Communication and Aviation (MCA) Peter Agovaka, Minister for Lands, Housing and Survey Hon Andrew Manepora, PS of MCA Moses Virivolomo, PS of Lands Stanley Waleanisia, PS for Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) Stephen Maesiola and Director (acting) Civil Aviation Authority of Solomon Islands Mr Brian Halisanau and other government officials, travelled to Anuha Island on September 23.

The delegation had a fruitful dialogue on the ground with the landowners which both parties agreed to redevelop the island and bring back economic activities to the island to benefit the landowners, the people of the province and Solomon Islands as a whole.

“There is now renewed energy from the landowners and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to have the airport open and later invite investors to redevelop the resort,” a government statement highlighted.

The statement adds the government through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Surveys had reached an agreement with the landowners in 2009 to lease the Island for tourism activities.

The lease was never executed which clouded the initiative which raised a lot of questions amongst landowners as to what went wrong.

“Despite the stall in executing the lease, the landowners, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Central Islands province maintained dialogue to reopen the airport and redevelop the resort,” the Government statement said.

As a result of the meeting, a plan of action has been agreed on and includes securing and executing the lease signed in 2009; and that the landowners to request and allow the government to enter the island in the last quarter of 2018 for purposes of survey and produce costs for airport redevelopment starting 2019.

“The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Communication and Aviation will together implement the airport redevelopment plan with the support of all government agencies, the province and the landowners,” it said.

The government has thanked the landowners for their cooperation to work with the government to have the Island redeveloped.

“The government is keen and will deliver the required infrastructure in 2019 to revive the Anuha Island and regain its status as the pearl of Solomon’s,” the statement said.


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