Alotau wharf to be upgraded

Milne Bay Provincial Administrator Ashan Numa signing the contract.

CLIMATE change impacts are undoubtedly real and are here to stay and could only get worse in the future. Climate impacts are already threatening every aspect of our lives.
The Milne Bay Province which consists of 600 islands is no exception and in particular those that are living in the outer islands and atolls.
The Alotau climate-proofing provincial wharf in the Sanderson Bay has played an essential connectivity role in the socio-economic life of the province since 1968 when the wharf was first built.
Socio-econmic activity in communities in the outer islands is fully dependent on this wharf and the associated jetties for access to essential services and business activities in the provincial capital, Alotau.
The Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) and the Milne Provincial Government signed a contract on Dec 23, 2021 to upgrade the provincial wharf.
CCDA acting Managing Director William Lakain, said during the ceremony that after a feasibility study carried out in 2016, it was revealed that the 53-year-old Alotau wharf was in a poor state of repair and vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, especially the rise in sea level and increasing frequency of storm surges.
He said based on assessments, a US$5 million (K17.5 million) additional funding was sourced for the Building Resilience of Climate Change (BRCC) programme through the Strategic Climate Fund-Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience. Additional funding was made available by the Australian Government to upgrade the wharf.

From left: Peter Neville from Pacific Marine, CCDA acting Managing Director William Lakain and Milne Bay Provincial Administrator Ashan Numa during the contract signing ceremony in Alotau.

The BRCC project is aimed at achieving transformation in addressing the current and future threats from climate change and related hazards.
The Alotau wharf will become a model marine structure with ‘climate proofing design features’ and provide insights for development of climate-resilient building codes and design standards at the national evel. As well the project will be socially-inclusive.
“Once this wharf is given the appropriate facelift, we believe this development will give leverage to increase the resilience of the Milne Bay community to the impacts of climate change,” Lakain said.
The improved wharf facilities will serve an estimated 200 registered small ship owners in the province and about 2,500 dinghy operators.
It is anticipated that this provincial wharf will inclusively accommodate the most vulnerable and those with limited mobilitysuch as persons with disabilities, the sick and pregnant mothers. It will continue to function as a public loading and unloading facility for small vessels supplying the needs of mostly the low-income earners of the off-shore islands, both on a routine basis and at times of emergencies.
Once the wharf is completed, the Milne Provincial Government administration will continue to own and operate the wharf to better serve the people as well as collect fees and levies for its maintenance.

Officers from CCDA and its partners visiting the Alotau wharf.

Working will start in a few months’ time.
Climate disruptions are impacting human health and have profound implications on agriculture, food security and nutrition. There are also changing rainfall patterns and increasing the severity and frequency of natural disasters. These changes also affect the the availability of clean and safe water whichin turn can lead to food shortages, diarrhea and waterborne diseases as well as compromise water and sanitation systems.
These indicators are signifying that climate change is no longer a concern for the CCDA alone but calls for clear linkages across all sectors.
Lessons learnt from the Building Resilience to Climate Change projects are the building blocks where every sector can join in to address climate change in the country.
A good example is the Alotau climate-proofing provincial wharf. It serves as a pilot project and demonstrates a climate adaption model for climate-proofing similar structures in vulnerable infrastructures in PNG and contribute to ensuring that climate change is integrated into future maritime infrastructure investments in the country.
During the contract signing ceremony Lakain said; “I congratulate Pacific Marine for being the successful bidder and we are looking forward to the contract to be completed within the contract period.
Milne Bay Provincial Administrator Ashan Numa thanked CCDA and other partners for the upgrading of the wharf. Numa said Alotau was a maritime province and the upgrading of the wharf would help the people in the province in so many ways.

  • Jina Amba is the media officer of the Climate Change and Development Authority

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