The Government intends to relocate almost 90 households in the squatter settlement at Ohlen Hole, Port Vila within 12 months.
This has been confirmed by Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu, yesterday.
“As soon as we complete road works and services into the subdivision as well as verify all the plots with surveys, people will start to move,” Minister Regenvanu replied when questioned by Buzz FM 96’s Kizzy Kalsakau, if there is a deadline for the relocation.
“We will work the end date out with the community but as soon as it is ready we do not expect to take more than 12 months.
“By this time next year everyone should be moved.”
The Ohlen Hole community resides inside Zone 2 of the Tagabe Water Protection Catchment area, which Unelco uses to provide water to the people of Port Vila and surrounding areas.
Zone 1 has been fenced and replanting of forests is in progress, to protect the water source. No one is allowed to live inside Zone 2.
When Minister Regenvanu became Minister of Lands in 2013, he initiated the process to secure a large division from Caillard Kaddour to relocate the squatters, rather having them leave with nowhere to go to.
The Government then purchased the subdivision in 2013 for almost Vt89 million but it was challenged in court. However, the government has now successfully managed to remove the injunction from doing the subdivision.
“We have the subdivision plan and have identified all the households that will relocate,” the Minister of Lands added.
“It is almost 90 households. They will be allocated with a lease title which they can gradually pay over time.”
In 2014, the Council of Ministers (CoM) endorsed the Ministry of Lands’ plan to acquire leases within the water source’s buffer zone in Port Vila.
The relocation of squatters currently residing in the Water Protection Catchment area is necessary, in order for the water source at Tagabe to provide safe drinking water in sufficient quantity to Port Vila residents for the next 30 years.