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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Vanuatu Government Helps Acquire Green Spaces In Port Vila
Lands Ministry enters assistance agreement with City Council

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 25, 2013) – The Minister of Land, James Bule, has signed an agreement with the Lord Mayor of Port Vila, Reuben Olul, for the Government to help the City Council acquire land for green spaces for the capital. The agreement in three parts was signed Friday on one of the green spaces directly above Air Vanuatu and National Bank of Vanuatu buildings.

The first part of the agreement requires the Government to acquire and transfer 13 plots of land located in the city to the Municipal Council of Port Vila to protect, develop and manage as green spaces for the residents and visitors. These 13 sites had first been identified by the Municipal Council, which then requested the assistance of the Minister of Land to have them transferred to the Council.

The second part of the agreement requires the Director and staff of the Department of Land to negotiate, source funding, acquire and transfer these plots of land to the Municipal Council. The third part of the agreement requires the Director of Lands and his staff to work with sponsors for funding support and transfer of these pieces of land. These plots of land such as that above the Air Vanuatu and NBV Buildings held by Government as state land will just be transferred by the Government to the Municipal Council.

The13 parcels of land, all with titles, spread from Switi in the northern part of the city to Simbolo Red Light, Freswota, Tassariki Estate to the Ex-Mandela Park at Nambtu in the south.

"This is a great day for the future development and the residents of the city as we will be working in cooperation with the Municipal Council to secure these sites for the Council to develop and maintain as green spaces for population of Port Vila.

"We have heard recently that the population of Port Vila is now 60,000. Tourist arrivals are also increasing at a tremendous rate. How do we cater for this increase? We have the resources, we have the land, so we need to work together to ensure the citizens of Port Vila enjoy clean air, clean environment, and Port Vila can maintain its position as one of the beautiful capitals of the South Pacific," Minister Bule said.

He called on the Council to work together with the Ministry to also source funding from sponsors and stakeholders to secure these plots of land. He also congratulated Lord Mayor Olul and his Council for their vision and their commitment to seeing that the capital of the country develops with the best interest of the people in mind.

Lord Mayor Olul agreed the day was an "historic occasion" for Port Vila. Speaking after the signing ceremony, he expressed his profound appreciation to Minister James Bule whom he said "despite not being a Member of Parliament for Port Vila he had the heart and the willingness to assist the Council and the people of the city".

"Today we have witnessed a major achievement for Port Vila City, because now the Council will now be working together with the Ministry of Lands to acquire land for green spaces for the capital," he said.

Explaining the conditions stipulated in the agreement, Director General of the Ministry of Lands Joe Ligo said that once these plots of land are acquired and transferred to the Municipal Council, they can never be on-sold.

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