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Spick and span: Agencies partner to give Rarotonga a facelift for Forum

Saturday 4 November 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in 52nd Pacific Islands Forum 2023, Features, National, Weekend


Spick and span: Agencies partner to give Rarotonga a facelift for Forum
The Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development’s buildings on Rarotonga have undergone makeovers in recent months. SUPPLIED23110330

It’s taken six months to get there as Rarotonga looks set to be spick and span for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.

Major works on the Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development’s buildings, complex and roading infrastructure have been completed with Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development (MoCD) and Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) working together in a coordinated and collaborative effort, implementing plans in May to undertake a significant schedule of works.

Other key stakeholders who contributed to the success of the works were Corrective Services, the Ministry of Education and Apii Avarua, Minister of Culture George Angene’s Office, Te Aponga Uira, contractors and hostel administrators.

CIIC Asset Management Division general manager Vasie Ngatoko-Poila said over 60 personnel had been involved with the project across all key partners, stakeholders, and contractors.

Works commenced in August and significant upgrades were completed in decommissioning and replacing the streetlights along Constitution Avenue, major remedial works to the VIP room, electrical upgrades to the building and walkways, painting of library and museum and all cobblestone walkways, covering a combined area of approximately 1000m2.

There was also significant landscaping and the rehabilitation and installation of new flag poles.

Projects managed by ICI included road rehabilitation works, road widening, new footpaths, rehabilitation of existing footpaths and construction of surface drains along Constitution Avenue and Victoria Road.

Remedial works to vehicle access ways, tree removal and trimming and road drainage works were also completed.

Public bookings for use of the National Auditorium and Domes were closed for the months of September and October, to allow for works to progress.

One of the key challenges during the project included traffic management arrangements with Apii Avarua.

But through early communication and intervention, plans and arrangements were put in place to mitigate and prioritise student health, safety, and access to Apii Avarua.

Other challenges were coordinating and facilitating work between multiple contractors and agency staff, while the Library, Museum, Corrective Services and MoCD continued to operate on site. Limited material supply also caused minor issues.

“Fortunately, we’ve had mostly good weather over recent weeks. Fortunately, too, we have had great support from the public. We wish to express our sincere ata wai wolo to the public, and in particular, the users of the roads, surrounding hostels and the Avarua School community for their understanding and patience during these works,” said Secretary of ICI, Elizabeth Wright-Koteka.