2018 was quite a challenging year for the Luganville Municipal Council (LMC).
LMC Acting Town Clerk, Robin Toka said communities, churches and schools in Luganville opened their doors and services to help thousands of Ambae volcano evacuees in need, after fleeing their homes twice in less than a year.
The government ordered mandatory evacuation of the people from Ambae to Maewo following the recent eruption, but majority headed to Santo.
The relief emergency works were concentrated in Luganville where people are accommodated at certain areas for several months.
The influx of evacuees has increased the population growth from approximately 18,000 to 20,000 last year, leaving LMC with a great challenge to meet greater demands for basic needs and services as water and electricity
Local food supply and demand for land space in Luganville and Santo increased as well as infrastructure demands.
Nevertheless, the demands in services indicates economic growth, said the Acting Town Clerk Toka.
The number of cruise ships arrival to Luganville last year dropped was a big concern as well as financial constraint hindering service delivery
However, LMC said it has done a lot of positive things last year and is optimistic to do more this year.
Toka said: “This year, we (LMC) will be implementing the new strategy and corporate plan which was launched last year.
“We have taken step to strengthen our relationship with the Sanma Provincial Government Council by fulfilling projects agreed under the Greater Luganville and Sanma Development Strategy Plan of 2017 to 2026.
“Two of those projects are the establishment of Luganville Fish Market and acquiring land for town expansion.
“LMC plans to extend market infrastructures to other wards. It is working closely with the UNDP funded Market for Change Programme to restructure and make market places more friendlier for vendors.
“We also took the leading role to ensure single plastic bag, polystyrene takeaway box and plastic straw are banned in Luganville.
“We inspected 54 shops as apart of food control enforcement and encourages everyone to comply with the Food Act.
“We will reinforce our zoning regulations too. LMC has also done a lot of disaster awareness in 2018 with Vanuatu Red Cross”.
After wishing all the residents, business houses and visitors “a prosperous new year”, Acting Clerk Toka encourage the council to put the people first and unite in achieving goals and priorities.