NEW NRH STILL LONG WAY OFF

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The National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara
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No master plan yet for proposed hospital

By EDDIE OSIFELO

GOVERNMENT says it is still to secure a master plan for the proposed National Referral Hospital earmarked to be built at Gilbert camp, east of Honiara.

And Health minister Dr Culwick Togamana says the ministry is yet to engage a consultant to design the master plan.

The project has been in the pipeline for almost 10 years now due to the design issue and associated land dispute.

Togamana told parliament yesterday the process for this planning was further stalled by the pandemic as state resources were put in preparedness and response to COVID.

“Likewise, our preparation to host Pacific Games 2023 play a vital role, slow down, we concentrate resources on the National Referral Hospital.

“We need consultation on the size of hospital we are going to build,” he said.

“Hopefully this consultancy group we are going to engage will come up with a Master Plan,” he added.

Togamana said this is important because the existing National Referral Hospital was built to cater for a population of only 300,000, but now our population exceeds 600,000.

“Therefore, we need to properly plan so that our new NRH caters for our growing population,” he added.

On site preparation, Togamana said this is an ongoing activity to date where 2,500 square meter perimeter fencing has been constructed.

“This is because squatters are there already?

“And therefore, we need to secure the site and when you fence the site, you need to deal with those in the perimeter,” he said.

Furthermore, Togamana said a ground survey on UXO needs to be carried out prior to construction.

This is because the area was subjected to heavy engagement during the second World War.

 Further to that, he said construction of security houses is being done, being tendered and awarded so that they have officers that will mann the site and prevent further interference from illegal settlers.

Attorney General, John Muria Junior clarified that in terms of legal proceedings, two disputes over the same land have been consolidated into one proceeding.

He said in 2016 when the government paid out the land from a landowner, that person transferred the land to the Commissioner of Land.

But he said when the land was transferred, other landowners challenged the transaction.

Muria said the matter is heading for trial so that a settlement could be reached sooner.

Parliament continues at 9.30am today.


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