Landowner opposes new highway bypass

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 19th of February, 2014

By Mortimer Yangharry
There is strong opposition by principal landowners of Gera village, in the Kamtai sub-district, of the Sinasine-Yongomugl electorate, Simbu,  against the proposed re-routing of the bypass by the Simbu provincial works department.
Lucy Agen, the eldest of the Bal  Barime family, is a retired public servant, who served the works department for more than 37 years and is operating a private land consultancy company, is against the re-routing through her customary land.
On behalf of her family, she is against the proposed move as much of the land is owned by the Bal Barime family of the Tunaka clan.
She alleged that on February 10 certain Simbu provincial works officials convened a meeting with her clansmen in Gera village and discussed their intention to re-route the bypass built in the aftermath of the 2008 disastrous landslide.
“As the principal landowner, I will not allow for the re-routing of the bypass because it will definitely infringe into my family’s customary land, well over the 20 metres mark set by law,” she said.
“I built a new permanent house worth over half a million kina and my family’s lives depend greatly on the land.”
She said slope failures at Gera were dangerous and complex, and any remedial work should involve expert recommendations.