The National, Friday November 8th, 2013
PACIFIC Games Council president Vidya Lakhan is concerned some venues for the 2015 Pacific Games may not be completed on time.
Lakhan said the Games briefing in Port Moresby last weekend, he found out some venues may not be fully operational but the playing areas would be available to host.
Lakhan asked the committees to come up with a “Plan B”, in the likelyhood some venues were not ready in time.
The alternative plans would involve sports playing at existing facilites, modifying their codes or being cancelled altogether.
Lakhan said he was worried the athletes’ acommodation at the multi-million Games Village at the University of PNG Campus would not be ready.
The site has only been cleared and levelled since its official launching earlier in the year.
With a little over 19 months since the July 4 opening ceremony work, has been slow on the aquatic centre and the Games Village while the Sir John Guise Stadium stands idle with no construction work done on it since the stands and some structures where demolished several months ago.
Lakhan said despite the slow preparations the Pacific Games Council and Papua New Guinea were committed to the event and would not be transfering the Games to another host country.
“PNG will host the the 2015 Games and they will be held in Port Moresby,” Lakhan said
He called on stakeholders, including government departments and the people to rally behind the Games Organising Committee and support them in organising the delivery of a successful Games in 2015.
“We have lost a lot of time and can’t afford any more delays. Stop procrastinating, let’s get on with the job at hand,” Lakhan said.
Chairman of the Pacific Games Authority, Kostas Constantinou, dispelled rumours that the country would lose its hosting rights if things did not improve over the next two months.
Constantinou told The National that the preparations were on schedule for the 2015 Pacific Games to be staged in Port Moresby.
Constantinou said Lakhan, who is a member of the Games Authority, was pleased with the preparation.
Lakhan was in the country over the weekend to attend the monthly meeting for the Games Authority.
Lakhan left the country on Sunday “reasonably” happy but said he would like to see work on venues such as the Games Village and the Boroko sports grounds along Bisini Parade that would cater for softball, netball, rugby league and union, cricket and lawn bowls – excelerated.
According to initial time frame for sporting infrastructure, the work should have began last year and be completed six months before the staging of the Pacific Games.
Meanwhile, deputy chairperson of the Venue Infrastructure, Equipment Committee (VIEC) Mel Donald said in an earlier interview that the time was against her committee and other stakeholders.
However on a positive note, she said there had been significant progress in the past 12 months especially the last six months where the Sports Minister Justin Tkatchencko and even the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had pushed for preparations to speed up.
She said their assistance came mainly in the form of getting the public service to do their part in the hastening the processes for getting building approvals and the like.
She said the Games Village, Taurama Aquatic and Indoor Complex and the Sir John Guise Stadium were all now in construction phase.
The Rita Flynn netball courts design was progressing well and some of the smaller venues were about to commence construction.
She said the Venues committee was striving to avoid all delays to the contruction of venues.
Donald said the important message was that VIEC and the Games Authority are trying to get the people to understand that the 2015 Games was not only a festival of sports for the country and the Pacific neighbbours, but also signified an important part of PNG history as a nation as we would be turning 40 in 2015.