The status of the Lakena subdivision in Nausori was highlighted during the country’s first Parliament sitting for the year, this week.
The subdivision was established in 1980 and demands for residential subdivision leases have mounted for the area, located near the Nausori CBD.
Minister for Lands, Faiyaz Koya confirmed that it covered approximately 669 hectares and of that, 733 lots were allocated.
“There are several kinds of leases. There are around 168 leases which are agricultural leases, there are 55 leases which are industrial leases, there are 367 leases which are residential leases, 5 commercial leases and 5 educational leases, 3 religious leases, 8 for special use and 3 subsistence leases.”
He was responding to queries on the status of the subdivision by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister for Land, Jiosefa Dulakiverata.
Koya said his ministry continued to carry out one of its core roles of maintaining existing subdivisions.
“The purpose of this particular maintenance project is to upgrade and improve infrastructure, public amenities and utilities in existing subdivisions on State lands and transfer responsibilities of future maintenance to the relevant agencies and authorities, maintaining these subdivisions also ensures that the roads are designed and constructed and are aligned to the Fiji Roads Authority standards. In addition, the maintenance work includes upgrading of access roads, water supply, sewerage etc, construction of drains and footpaths and crossings etc, and the erection of walls to address soil erosion and the clearing of blocked drains.”
Koya noted that the maintenance of six State subdivisions around the country had a budgetary provision and that upgrades and improvement programs were carried out as required, and had to follow due process.
Opposition MP, Mosese Bulitavu said residents of Lakena had formed a committee and were trying to follow up on promises of being given sub-divisional leases. Fellow Opposition MP, Aseri Radrodro asked the Lands Minister about the possibility of services to update titles before the general elections, however Koya noted that processes had to be followed- regardless of whether it was elections year or not.
“This subdivision was created for an irrigation scheme, for rice cultivation, so most of these leases have expired and some have been used for residential and for other purposes,” Dulakiverata said, adding that most of the land had been vacant and turned into ad hoc dwellings.
“What is the status of the land that have expired? Can a residential subdivision be carried out to cater for the demand for residential homes?”
Koya said there were 22 expired agricultural leases that included re-entry and three surrendered, all of which were issued on a 20-30 year term.
“Out of the 22 expired leases for Lakena, two have been advertised, three have had leases documents uplifted for execution, six are currently under preparation for lease, three have lease submissions, two are awaiting inspection and two are awaiting documents such as TIN letters and probate etc that need to be done.”
Koya said the whole subdivision initially had 168 leases and hasn’t changed the status in regard to that, except for property ownership, which may have been transferred.