Tuavera, said he had raised concerns about the deteriorating state of road conditions in his constituency, especially in Muri, in Parliament last month.
He said the road in Muri, which is a hot spot for tourists visiting the country, deserved immediate attention than the road in Arorangi.
“Ngatangiia road has to be done, especially the road in Muri. When I asked the question about the road in Muri, the answer was ‘we are going to Arorangi first’,” Tuavera said.
“Why Arorangi first? The road in Arorangi is alright but the road in Muri, and everybody knows this, is not okay. I also understand there is budget for both roads so why did Arorangi, which doesn’t need road work straight away, pops above the Muri road. “I see this as a campaign for them (government) because he (finance minister Mark Brown) in Parliament said they were waiting for the new MP from Ngatangiia to do the road. I hope he was joking. I replied to him that ‘you are looking at the next MP for Ngatangiia’.”
The Cook Islands Government through Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) on Thursday put out a tender seeking suitably qualified contractors to bid for the Rarotonga Road Improvement Project in Arorangi.
ICI secretary Ngametua Pokino said both the Muri and Arorangi roads were a priority with capital budget already approved by Parliament for the two roads in this financial year. However, he said they had some issues with the land and property owners along the edge of the Muri road. “With Muri, there are issues on private properties encroaching the main roads which need to be removed and realigned with some consideration to assist those who will be affected, both local residences and commercial entities around that area. It is a work in progress for ICI,” Pokino said. Tuavera said he had suggested a solution to this problem when it was highlighted in Parliament last month. “When I raised this question, the finance minister (Brown) brought up that due to widening of the road, it would affect properties in the area. I recommended that they should provide a lawyer from Crown law and engineers from ICI and call a meeting of all landowners that will be affected along the side of the road,” Tuavera said.
“I don’t believe it’s a big issue because a lot of people understand that improving our roads is a must for our village and a lot of them will not block it.
“I know for fact that an ICI employee actually went and measured the road and talked to some of the landowners who he thought will be affected the most. Out of them, only one old lady disagreed with the project but she wanted the road to be changed so that she can claim her land back.” In the tender advert, ICI said it wishes to implement the Arorangi section of the Rarotonga Road Improvement Project to improve the road network, improve the service and safety provided by the network and reduce the lifecycle costs of road assets. “For Arorangi, we are aiming for the successful tenderer to work alongside with other utilities like TAU, Bluesky and Te Mato Vai while they are doing their drainage digging, underground power cables and poles realignment on footpath, TMV water connection and Bluesky telephone lines.
This road chip sealing project perfectly rolls in to stabilise and seal the road,” Pokino said.
He said the market would dictate the number of tenderers for this project. - RK