A group of Flagstaff residents was disputed claims by the Developers of “Flagstaff Plaza” on the Marist Brothers High School land that the project has ‘overwhelming community support’.
This follows a statement published yesterday announcing plans by Fineland Investments Limited to construct a plaza on a strip of land which is part of the Marist Brothers High School grounds in Suva
Speaking on behalf of the opposing group, Adrienne Ali from InterAlia Consultancy, said over 50 residents have opposed the development project since it became public.
She said they continued to object strenuously to the continuation of the project.
The objectors, long term residents and business owners in Flagstaff, lodged a formal objection to the Director of Town & Country Planning (DTCP) in June 2015 citing several grounds of objection.
This includes the loss of visual architecture of the historical school from Bau Street, loss of open space for residents and MBHS students, loss of peace and quietness for Flagstaff residents, and an adequacy of commercial shops and businesses in Flagstaff and nearby areas.
Mrs Ali said of considerable importance to the objectors was the negative and collateral impact on traffic management in the area surrounding the development.
Despite the concerns raised, he said the DTCP approved the developers’ application for rezoning from Civic (Education) to Commercial ‘B’.
“The objectors have since appealed the DTCP’s decision to the Minister for Local Government, Housing & Environment on various grounds,” she said.
He said this included the lack of a public hearing on the application, lack of proper consultation with the public and a failure to follow due process.
“In particular, the objectors are concerned they were not given access to all relevant documentation nor given the opportunity to be heard and to debate the issue of traffic management,” she said.
Fineland Investments general manager, Kowtil Jogia, has already confirmed the Suva City Council has granted a building permit for construction of the new shopping complex.
“This was done after extensive studies and consultation with Fiji Roads Authority and other Government authorities,” he said.
“Comprehensive terms and conditions have been put in place by Suva City Council to ensure the safe and orderly carrying out of the works.”
This article first appeared in the Fiji Sun on June 17, 2016.