Cabinet has unanimously rejected the construction of the proposed $250 million Vaiusu Wharf project, one of the significant projects the former administration were hoping to work on.
Minister of Public Enterprises and Member of Parliament for Vaiusu, Leatinuu Wayne So’oialo told Radio Polynesia, there are a number of issues factored into their decision.
“So long as I am in office, the wharf will not happen in our Constituency.”
The former Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi in the past told the Legislative Assembly it was the long-term vision of the Government to build an international wharf at Vaiusu, in order to address congestion issues at Matautu Wharf.
Leatinu’u said the main wharf in Matautu is being expanded at the moment and its capacity is sufficient to cater to the number of shipping vessels and ontainer ships that docks at the wharf.
In the past Leatinuu expressed concerns over this proposed project as it would displace local villagers who depend upon Vaiusu Bay but it would expand Samoa’s harbour capacity to an unnecessary degree.
“Why would a small country like Samoa with exports of about 30 per cent of [its economic output] and imports about 40 per cent of [its economy] need a wharf to cater for 12 vessels?,” he asked.
Environmentalist and now Minister Toesulusulu Cedric Schuster in 2019 warned that the Government’s proposed Vaiusu wharf project will have a “infinite environmental cost”, which will lead to the loss of biodiversity, accelerate flooding and lead to the displacement of communities.