Native Land Developed into Residential Lots

Oct. 3, 2017, 6:34 a.m.

Vuda hilltop

Four sites of native land are being developed into residential lots, as part of a new land grant scheme by the government.

The properties are located at Yadua in Nadroga and at Waiberatia, Vuda and Saweni, outside Lautoka and were commissioned on the weekend.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum noted an input of $10 million in this year’s National Budget for the initiative.

“Whilst Government is actually spending money and value is going to the i Taukei (native)landowners, the fact is, more land will be made available, so more land for them to use and also, more income for the landowners,” he said during a tour of the sites.

“We’re hoping to get the lots available for sale within a year. And that includes access roads, water, electricity, utilities in the final configuration.

“The lots vary in different sizes; depending on the location of the property. Some of them will cater well for affordable housing, some for the more exclusive end of the market, and we hope in the future we’ll get more proposals for this.”

Saweni is expected to offer 33 residential lots, while eight lots will be available at Vuda hill top, 16 at Waiberatia and 13 at Yadua.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also noted the lengthy vetting process of applicants for the scheme.

“Some of the proposals we got were not necessarily very good, in the sense that there were some disputes as to who were the owners and trustees; in other areas there were some caveats placed on the property, and in some cases, applicants were in fact not actual members of the landowning unit, so we had to go through a whole vetting process.”

Of the four sites identified, he said a few had already developed scheme plans for the lots, and had already carried out environmental impact assessments.

Scope Pacific Limited is overseeing development plans and have a timeframe of 11 months to complete the project, a government statement confirmed.