Investment

Concerns over ‘Flagstaff Plaza’ project

A group of Flagstaff residents are disputing claims by the Developers of “Flagstaff Plaza” Fineland Investments Ltd who said in a statement that the project had ‘overwhelming community support’. InterAlia Consultancy legal and communications consultant Adrienne Ali said the group, which comprised more than fifty residents, had opposed the development project since it became public […]

Staff Writers

June 17, 2016 4:10 pm

A group of Flagstaff residents are disputing claims by the Developers of “Flagstaff Plaza” Fineland Investments Ltd who said in a statement that the project had ‘overwhelming community support’.

An artist impression of the Flagstaff Plaza. (Fineland Investments Ltd)
An artist impression of the Flagstaff Plaza. (Fineland Investments Ltd)

InterAlia Consultancy legal and communications consultant Adrienne Ali said the group, which comprised more than fifty residents, had opposed the development project since it became public and continued to object strenuously to the continuation of the project.

ALI: ” The developers are aware that around 50 households objected to their project so its preposterous to market their project as having ‘overwhelming community support’. It also cannot be said that the development is supported by the MBHS Old Boys when the decision to lease the land was made by the Fiji Marist Brothers Trust Board Inc based in New Zealand, with no official input by the old boys.”

Ali said the objectors to the project, who were long-term residents and business owners in Flagstaff, lodged a formal objection to the Director of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) in June last year, citing several grounds of objection including the loss of visual architecture of the historical school from Bau Street and loss of open space.

Ali added that despite concerns raised by the group, the DTCP approved the Developer’s application for rezoning from Civic (Education) to Commercial ‘B’.

ALI: “The Objectors have since appealed the DTCP’s decision to the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment on the lack of proper consultation with the public and a failure to follow due process. The Minister has indicated that the appeal by the Objectors calls for a meeting between all of the stakeholders, including the Developers, the Objectors, and the FRA. Until such time as that meeting has taken place and the Objectors’ concerns have been alleviated, the project my be put on hold for the sake of good governance.”

In response, Fineland Investments Limited General Manager Mr Kowtil Jogia said that they have received all relevant approvals for the ‘Flagstaff Plaza’ project and that they have no desire to enter into any further debate.

JOGIA: ” Fineland Investments Limited and The Marist Trust have no desire to enter into further debate through the Media with a handful of disgruntled individuals with vested interests except to say that all relevant Fiji Government approvals have been received for the Flagstaff Plaza Project development, which is now well underway. It took 18 months for the approval process which are all now on hand.”

The developer of a new shopping plaza being built at Suva’s iconic Marist Brothers High School (MBHS) ground says there will be no loss of playing fields after construction is completed.

The General Manager of Fineland Investments Limited, Mr Kowtil Jogia said the rental income received by the Marist Trust would be used to fund educational activities and other charitable objects.

JOGIA: “News reports and comments made in the general media and social media that half the school grounds will be lost, or impaired, are completely false. The leased area is a small section of open space which was underutilised, badly drained and boggy.”

Mr Jogia said the existing two football fields and 300m running track will remain completely unaffected.

JOGIA: “There will absolutely be no loss of the school grounds and playing fields amenities for the students and others who use the playing fields for sports and training programmes.”

Mr Jogia said the land involved is being leased at a commercial rent and, together with the Plaza buildings will revert to Marist Trust when the lease expires.

JOGIA: “No part of the Marist Brothers School land is being sold. The Marist Trust will continue to remain the Owner of the freehold land on which the Plaza is being built. Construction work on the land for the Plaza has already started.”

A major shopping plaza is being soon to be built for Flagstaff, Suva in front of Marist Brothers High School.

A fence being put on half of the Marist Brothers High School ground where a shopping complex is planned to be constructed. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)
A fence being put on half of the Marist Brothers High School ground where a shopping complex is planned to be constructed. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)

Marist Brothers’ Brother Kees Van Der Weert said the project had been signed and a building permit had been issued.

WEERT: “The brothers led by the leadership in New Zealand have leased the front portion of the ground right along Bau Street as a business development where we will build a plaza. There will be a shopping complex built at the Marist ground and the developers are the Yanjian Company and they are going to lease the land to built a new shopping plaza and they are going to support the works of the Marist Brothers in the near future.”

Brother Weert said the groundbreaking ceremony will happen in a couple of weeks.

WEERT: “As you can see they are already putting up the fence now. So, the ground breaking will probably sometimes in a couple of weeks and the construction we looking it at six to seven weeks period, to begin.”

Brother Weert said money raised through leasing the property will be used to fund development and operations at the five educational institutions the Marist Brothers run in Suva.

WEERT: ” They are going to support the works of the Marist Brothers in the near future. The financial income would assist the mission, the schools and the brothers. “

Brother Weert said the shopping plaza will be a single story building.

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