By KEITH PUARIA
ALMOST four and a half months after Papua New Guinea’s successful bid to host the 2015 Pacific Games at the Edgewater Resort in Rarotonga Cook Islands, there has been no progress in preparations so far.
The real implementation of initial Pacific Games 2015 preparation plans have not been evident since the end of the PNG Games last October, with a threatening reality that time might once again run out on the organisers at the end.
Furthermore, if the recent PNG Games late last year were anything to go by, time did run out on the organisers, raising major concerns in their ability to manage such large scale events, especially with the world’s eyes on the country this time around.
A total of US$49.8 million or K142.2 million was forecasted as the budget for new sporting facilities (US$42.96 million/K122.7 million) as well as the upgrading of the current facilities (US$6.84 million/K19.4 million).
But very little movement has been evident around Port Moresby, the host city, exactly four years and 344 days before the clock ticks into the year 2015.
Among the major sporting facility infrastructure commitments, is a proposed new 18,000 capacity national stadium, at a cost of US$33.3 million (K95.1 million).
It has not yet been established where this facility will be situated.
Other new major facilities include a bodybuilding and martial arts venue (US$2.775 million/K7.9 million) yet to be known, netball (US$1.48 million/K4.2 million), squash (US$1.48 million/K4.2million), and volleyball (US$2.775 million/K7.9 million), of a total US$42.96 million for new facilities. Earmarked for major facility upgrades were athletics (USD$2.59million/K7.4mil), and swimming (USD$1.85million/K5.2mil), out of a total USD$6.84million facility upgrade forecast.
The decision, announced on Sept 27 in Rarotonga, brought calls from citizens for the work to commence as soon as possible, however, progress quietly died out along with the emotions of the bid win.
Secretary General PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee, Sir John Dawanincura told The National yesterday that all plans regarding the 2015 preparations would be finalised in the committees’ first executive meeting of the year on Jan 27.
“This meeting will give us the opportunity to outline process, the overall process as per the Pacific Games Council charter,” Sir John said.
Sir John said that a press release would be made after the meeting.
Other expected expenditures as per the PNG Pacific Games 2015 Bid Handbook, is a USD$18.5million (K52.8mil) building and upgrading of the games village, and general competitor venues.
The University of Papua New Guinea, as the designated games village, also committed to expanding its facilities. Funding from the Government and donors will be used to build a state-of-the-art arena, recreation areas and a multi-purpose gym, coinciding with the PNG NRL Bid. These facilities have apparently been approved for work to commence however, initial developments are unknown.
Queries with UPNG regarding its progress so far, were referred to Vice Chancellor Professor Ross Hynes, who was away on holidays.