The National, Wednesday 24th April 2013
THE Pacific Games Council is confident Port Moresby will be able to host the event in 2015.
Games executive director Andrew Minogue, who accompanied council president Vidhya Lakhan to the country in February to witness the start of preparations, said the council was optimistic despite the tight schedule – 27 months – in which venues and facilities needed to be prepared.
Speaking on behalf Lakhan, Minogue admitted time was against the organisers but insisted the Pacific Games Authority and Venues, Infrastructure and Equipment Committee were working closely with government departments to ensure preparatory work was completed on time.
“All major Games host cities face challenges with the large number of infrastructure projects that are required to be delivered,” he said.
“However the legacy that these projects leave to the community of the host nation is one of the significant benefits of hosting major multi-sport Games.”
Papua New Guinea won the right to host the 2015 Games in 2009 but physical work only started this month, with the demolition of the Taurama Leisure Centre (Sir Donald Cleland Swimming Pool) for the K190-million Taurama Aquatic Centre and Indoor Complex.
The schedule for the major projects released by the Games Authority last year had the aquatic centre work set for next month, while work was supposed to start on the biggest project, the Pacific Games Village, last month.
Work on the Games Village will be launched today by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at the University of Papua New Guinea campus in Waigani.
Minogue said progress was being closely followed by the Games council from its Fiji base and they would be briefed by the PNG Pacific Games Association and the organising committee in Nadi this month.
“Throughout the planning and preparation stages of the Games a huge number of milestones and key performance indicators are monitored,”he said.
“You will be aware that several corporate partners have already taken the opportunity to support the Games and we expect these will be followed by many others.”
Minogue said planning in the areas of security, transport, sports delivery and community engagement were well progressed according to PGC assessments.
“The Pacific Games Council is in regular contact with the Port Moresby 2015 organising committee and we are confident that the combination of resources required to successfully deliver the Games is on track.”
He said in comparison, Port Moresby was not in a unique situation in terms of its rate of progress or in any real danger of defaulting on the games.
“It is an interesting point of history that in the lead-up to almost all major Games, be they Olympics, Commonwealth Games or Pacific Games, at some stage the suggestion is made that the previous host city may need to be used again.
“It has never happened in the past and it will not be required for 2015.
“We will be receiving a further update from the PNG Pacific Games Association and the Port Moresby 2015 Games organising committee in Nadi during the Oceania National Olympic Committee meetings.”