Dear Editor,

Please allow me space to respond to the local news section of your newspaper of last Saturday. It is very sad to see such an article in the papers on the Freshwater 1 petrol station. It would have been proper if you had gone straight to the DEPC and asked them the firsthand information on the process leading to whether or not the site is not suitable.

Firstly let me tell you that under the DEPC act, there are some developments that require a full EIA. This particular one required a full EIA. Secondly, the government has mandated the PVMC to make plans of Port Vila based on its 1982 zoning plan. Having said that, PVMC gave a permit to HXM to build a petrol station.

But since it requires a full EIA, the director hired a services of a private consulting EIA. The consultant had a TOR which the full work is based on. One section of the consultants role was to meet with residents of Freshwater and let them know of the proposal. Many residents plus the chief were reluctant to attend.

After completion of the EIA study, a presentation was made at the Epauto church. Community leaders were there to give their final views.

I wish to let us all know that the copy of the EIA is with the DEPC. If you have time, go and ask and read through. This is the only way that you can understand why an EIA has to be done.

Many thanks,

EIA Consultant


Note: A very valid point raised here. However, we held off publication for several days while our journalist made repeated attempts to get a copy of the EIA from the DEPC. Unfortunately, he was not given a copy as requested.

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