Settlement upgrade project queried

Letters

I WANT to discuss the much talked-about urbanisation pilot project in the National Capital District’s Moresby North East and South electorates.
The idea was mooted more than a decade back with the establishment of the Office of Urbanisation under the Ministry of Housing.
Even though the project was so critical to the residents of Port Moresby city, there were only talk and no substance.
Had the project begun back then, the lives of many Papua New Guineans who live in the settlements around NCD would already have been transformed.
The Office of Urbanisation was established by Government without any tangible projects undertaken in response to the growing housing needs of people living in the city of Port Moresby as well as other cities and towns right across PNG.
Housing and Urbanisation ministers have come and gone but little, if any, consideration has been given to this very important project.
There were talks here and there as usual, but nothing happened.
It was only when this government gave the Lands, and Housing and Urbanisation portfolios to NCD members that we saw the idea taking shape again. It is a step in the right direction.
Last month, the project office of the NCDC urbanisation and settlement upgrade programme came around informing the residents of Moresby North East and South electorates that the upgrade of settlements was now a key priority project for NCDC.
We were told that surveyors would come and visit each pilot project areas and make preliminary assessments on the selected settlements. They visited the selected areas maybe once or twice last month.
Indeed, it was a dream-come-true moment for some of the residents who had been living there for two to three generations. Everyone was excited about the project and they were committed to seeing it bear fruit.
However, it’s been almost two months now since the project unit’s last visit and no good-news stories have come out from the NCDC project office about the progress of the settlement conversion project.
I don’t know about other pilot project sites, but for ATS settlement, nothing is happening at the moment; no engagement and information from the NCDC project unit for that matter.
Living in a good/decent accommodation means a healthy society.
Parliamentarians should not use this as their yardstick for political maneuverings or gain. This should not become another political gimmick or propaganda.
I am just confused as other people about this project and whether it is going to get off the ground. Please tell us when.
I am posing these general questions for the benefit of our people in the selected settlements in the two electorates and for the NCDC project office to clarify if this project is real?
If it is real, what is the progress so far?

Kims Gapman Tower
ATS Settlement

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