By MALUM NALU
Up there where eagles dare, the new-look Ela Beach, or its traditional name Era Kone, looks absolutely spectacular.
It’s a refreshing new perspective that gives you a whole new outlook.
So too does Adventure Park at 14-Mile outside Port Moresby.
Over the festive period, I’ve been taking my kids to both places, and they have given their thumbs up.
The dearth of recreational areas for a fast-growing city like Port Moresby has always been a concern for residents.
I’ve also talked with several people and they say it’s long overdue.
The ‘new’ Ela Beach was opened by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last September with a strong call to residents to care for the Era Kone Beach.
The K77 million redevelopment project was funded by the National Capital District Commission through a loan from Bank South Pacific.
It complements the K120 million Apec Haus built by Oil Search under the tax credit scheme.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop and Moresby South MP Justin Tkatchenko say they are determined to do more for the city and urge residents to take responsibility and embrace the changes.
Parkop says Port Moresby should be the hub for tourism, arts, culture and music.
The next stage of the redevelopment project will include a 2,000-seat amphitheatre, a restaurant, food court, shaded facilities as well as beach development all the way to Koki Fish Market.
According to the National Capital District Commission, the Ela Beach Redevelopment Project is aimed at upgrading Port Moresby’s historic Ela Beach into a world-class facility.
“The beach, once the home ground for the nestling of giant sea turtles (from which it gets its name; Era/Ela is Motuan for turtle), was used as the site for a jail, a hospital, a cricket pitch, tennis court, shooting competitions, horse-racing, canoe-racing, an airstrip and a wireless telegraph station during the Australian colonial administration,” it says.
“However, it never had any major improvements done to it since then and this is the first deliberate effort put into its upgrade.
“When completed, the new Ela Beach will be as good as what The Strand is like to Townsville, Australia.
“The NCDC project team travelled to Townsville as part of the project study and implemented much of the recommendations from Townsville City Council engineers.
“Three groynes (low barriers built out into the sea from the beach to check erosion) were later added to keep with coastal engineering.
“Groynes are necessary in that they create and preserve beaches from being washed away by interrupting water flow and limiting the movement of sediment.
“The three groynes will also cater for public amenities and help in creating separate beach precincts.
“Starting from the western end is the Lagatoi Beach, bordered by Apec House and Groyne 1.
“Lagatoi Beach is the cultural hub of Ela Beach where the Hiri Moale Festival and all cultural activities will be staged.
“Upon Groyne 1 will be the food court.
Between Groyne 1 and Groyne 2 is the Family Beach.
“On Groyne 2 will be situated an amphitheatre that will hold up to 2,000 people.
“Between Groyne 2 and Groyne 3 is the Sports Beach which will hold three basketball courts and three beach volleyball courts – all of them with seating areas.
“When finished, the new Ela Beach will have car parking with lighting for up to 370 cars, 3.2km of paved footpath with lighting, disable-friendly facilities with minimum stairs, two boat ramps, three distinguished beaches, 1.7ha of recreational park area, 120 picnic tables, 50 barbeque areas, 50 rubbish bins, three toilets and shower blocks, two headlands for food court/café development, 2,000 seat amphitheatre which will have work begin on it after Apec.
“Also included will be a children’s playground, turtle-themed family area with up to 200 square metres of shaded area, three beach volleyball courts, three basketball courts, flood light capabilities for the courts for night use, 1500 seating for all the courts with shading, themed cultural sculptures, Lagatoi sail shelter, history boards, up to 700 trees and palms and 0.5ha of green zone and security.
“Built into one of the beach precincts is a natural pool for swimming during low tides so people can still enjoy a swim no matter the time.
“For its foundation, the new Ela Beach has a ‘retaining wall’ built into it to prevent severe damage during heavy storms.”
Up 14-Mile way, Adventure Park is expected to feature animals such as giraffes, brought in from Africa, says Parkop.
He revealed this last month during the opening of a dinosaur park.
Parkop opened the new K400,000 Dinosaur Adventure with Tkatchenko as a joint venture.
The good thing is that no fees are charged. My kids find it very educational and enjoyable.
I enjoy a bird’s eye view.
Good for Port Moresby.
Good for Papua New Guinea.
By MALUM NALU