NCD Governor Powes Parkop today announced the beginning of redevelopment work on Ela Beach.
The K55 million project is being undertaken in two stages and is seeing contractor China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) begin civil works this week at the contracted cost of K45,235,285. CHEC will work on widening the Ela Beach Road from a two-lane into a four-lane road, reclaiming the land for the Beach extension, building car parking space among others.
The second stage of redevelopment will come in the landscaping of the Sea Park which is expected to begin early next year. Altogether, the Project Management Team is hopeful of delivering the Beach in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit toward the end of next year 2018.
“We are confident of completing the new redeveloped Beach two months before APEC next year. For now, work has started and I am calling on the public for its understanding and cooperation. There will be some disruptions to allow for the earth works but we intend to keep the existing road operational while the new lanes are being constructed. Ela Beach will be closed from the eastern end to the middle about the Ela Beach hotel area but the western half of it will still be open,” said Governor Parkop.
The Governor has also said some of the trees, palms and shrubs have been identified for extraction – 37 of them to make way for the land works and construction of the Beach park infrastructure and 12 of them for the Port Moresby Sewerage Project being undertaken through Kumul Consolidated Holdings.
He said the National Capital District Commission was doing all it could to retain as many trees as possible but with expert advice given, it was best to pull down many of the Casuarinas which have lived their life expectancy as they have lived through the Australian Colonial period.
“We understand public sentiment that the older trees are part of the Ela Beach heritage and so we are working hard to save those ones that still can be saved. The Project Team has conducted a second lot of assessment that ended with 35 more ending on the To Save List,” said Governor Parkop.
“For those that have to be removed, these are the ones that really must go. They have been identified to be Dead, Dying, or smack in the middle of the road corridor outside of or not suitable on the Median Strip.
“These include most of the Casuarina trees, which according to expert advice, have reached their life expectancy. With those familiar with Ela Beach history, many of these trees were planted even before the Australian administration, quite probably during the explorative period of Port Moresby. So one can understand how old they are. To leave them later would only incur more costs to the project now or in the future.”
The Ela Beach Redevelopment Project is part of the Commission’s NCD Master Plan, formally signed last year.
A 2,000-capacity amphitheatre will be the biggest infrastructural feature of the new Beach, but the Project Coordination Team says this will be treated separately as it is a complete project of its own, needing its own design and funding. However, preparatory work will go into making sure all is physically ready for the construction which will take place later.
“Many will think we are doing Ela Beach and our residents a disservice by chopping down some trees or digging it up. But our interest is to serve our people as best as possible. Ela Beach is the only major park we have in Port Moresby and we are looking forward to making it bigger, better and more serviceable for our residents. Give us some time to finish the project and you will see how good the new Beach will be for you,” said Governor Parkop.
The Ela Beach Redevelopment Project is aimed at improving and redeveloping the Ela Beach to international standards to complement the nearby redeveloped Paga Hill which will accommodate, among many other things, the APEC meeting hall, to be constructed at the western end of Ela Beach.
Authorised for Release by:
HON. POWES PARKOP, LLB, LLM, MP
GOVERNOR OF NATIONAL CAPITAL DISTRICT