Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare this week has commended the vision of Guadalcanal Province to build townships at strategic locations around the Province.
Speaking at celebrations marking the Province’s 39th Second Appointed Day at Mamara, Northwest Guadalcanal on Tuesday, Sogavare acknowledged the Provincial Government for its vision to build townships at Mamara, Henderson and Marau Manekalaku, describing the plan as “commendable vision”.
“The intention to construct these new townships will have significant implications for governance and economics for Guadalcanal, Honiara and Solomon Islands at large,” he said.
He noted that building new townships require meticulous urban planning to ensure proper allocation of resources, infrastructure development, and zoning regulations, saying “this demands effective coordination between various government departments and agencies responsible for urban development”.
“We must ensure that public amenities are established for these townships – to ensure the provision of essential public services such as water supply, electricity, sewage systems, waste management, public transportation, schools, healthcare facilities, and recreational spaces is developed,” Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister added that the National government must support Guadalcanal Province to establish clear rules and regulations regarding land use, construction standards, environmental protection, and building codes to maintain safety, sustainability, and aesthetics.
“Building new townships may involve displacing or attracting people and communities, impacting social dynamics. Effective community engagement and consultation processes are crucial to address concerns, incorporate feedback, and foster a sense of ownership among our people,” Sogavare said.
Sogavare highlighted that Inter-Governmental Cooperation is required for Large-scale urban development projects, requiring collaboration with the National government for funding, approvals, and policy support.
The construction of new townships generates employment opportunities in the real estate sector, construction industry, and related services, contributing to local economic growth.
It will also trigger Increased Tax Revenue, as new townships develop, property values and economic activities in the area typically rise, leading to increased property taxes, sales taxes, and other revenue sources for the local government.
Infrastructure Investment stimulates economic activity as contracts are awarded to construction companies and suppliers, creating a multiplier effect on the economy. The addition of new housing units may impact the local housing market. Depending on the demand and supply dynamics, it could lead to changes in property prices and rental rates.
New townships can attract businesses looking to capitalize on the growing population. This could lead to increased commercial activities and the establishment of new businesses, further boosting the local economy.
Sogavare spoke highly of the proposed intention to develop the Marau Township, saying the project can be aligned with the country’s tourism and investment plans to attract tourists and investors, boosting the eastern Guadalcanal economy and generating additional revenue streams.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister cautioned the Provincial Government to prepare well towards these major activities, taking into account that Rapid urbanization and development can sometimes exacerbate social and economic disparities.
“We must be mindful of inclusive growth and take measures to address potential inequality issues,” he said, noting that building new townships can be a transformative undertaking for any provincial governments, with both challenges and opportunities.
“What we all must ensure is to put in place appropriate regulatory framework for effective governance, prudent planning, and attention to the economic impacts that are essential to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of these developments.
The DCGA is committed to supporting the development of these townships aimed at driving the country forward.” ENDS///