‘Tidal basin will cause destruction to lives’

Lae News, Normal

LABU villagers near Lae have claimed that the construction of a tidal basin will bring permanent destruction to their lives and existence.
They expressed their fears in a petition delivered to State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare in Lae last year.
Details of the petition are now emerging as Labu villagers are seeking a response to their petition.
In the petition, the Labu villagers want the National Government to grant them free of cost 15 % equity in the Lae wharf, as compensation for the loss of their livelihood as a result of the new port development.
The villagers also demand 15 % equity “for the long-term benefit for their children due to the permanent irreversible losses due to the construction of the Lae Tidal Basin”.
They see that revenue from this sea port would increase substantially for the Government.
Yet it is set to have a profound negative impact on the lives of Labu villagers, like no other development in the history of their lives.
The petition states:
* The project will severely hinder their access to Lae City for services;
* The sea wall, when completed, is expected to increase erosion of the Labu coastline as waves are forced towards the villages;
* The traditional fishing grounds will diminish permanently as a result of increased waves and rise in sea level as well as the rise in underwater sedimentation;
* The destruction to the coastline is expected to lead to the destruction of village homes, forcing families to search for higher ground elsewhere; and
* The dependence of Labu villagers on fish and other marine resources will be seriously and permanently destroyed, resulting in permanent loss of income for family survival, leading to forced poverty on an unprecedented scale.