16 January 2017
Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) stands to correct that it is not the responsibility of the FRA to take on its proactive management of landslide zones that are in lands owned by others.
This follows after the landslide which occurred yesterday morning at the Gram Sangathan School at Buiduna, Nausori.
FRA Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Moore says whilst they acknowledge their concerns and sympathize with them on the challenges that they are facing, it is important to understand that it is the duty of the landowner to manage the land that contributed to the slide.
“Our team has made numerous site visits and we have done what we could in our capacity to keep the road accessible and we will do the utmost in ensuring minimal disruption to traffic and pedestrian movement.”
The school is on a 75 year native lease from landowners in Verata Village and the authority to construct a road, this road was given by the former Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.
“We have requested the school manager to obtain the report from the Mineral Resources Department regarding investigation on the vulnerability of the school during the rainy season and the continuous slipping of red clay from the compound.”
Mr Moore said they had an obligation to clear the road for vehicles and pedestrians. However, the School Management must do whatever they can in their capacity to stop further slips by erecting retaining walls or have gabion structures on the hill.
“It is the responsibility of the FRA to maintain the roads in a safe and useable condition and we wish to reiterate that the FRA does not have any authority to carry out any work on leased or freehold land.”
He said the FRA is willing to provide relevant information and advice where it can, and has such detail available, but the ultimate responsibility rests with the land-owner.
“We have asked the School Management to immediately address the slip issue, as there is a risk of the school building collapsing and to also avoid further deterioration of the road.”