Chief representative for Ifira Paramount Chief Paunimanu Mantoi Kalsakau III named the new-look Seafront, Feiawa, which means an anchorage for everyone.
This is a significant milestone for Port Vila and was a key component of the celebrations to open the park to mark the end of the Vt1.4 billion project.
The public were invited to join the official delegation of donor partners, government and project stakeholders today in a parade led by Hon. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman, the New Zealand High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Georgina Roberts and EIF representative Mr. Simon Hess. Formal proceedings started with a kastom ceremony between the Government of Vanuatu and the people of Ifira as a touching tribute to the Ifira people for their support during the development of the project.
The Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project has been a lengthy journey of consultation, feedback and the development of ideas to realise an amazing facility for the people of Vanuatu and visitors alike. The New Zealand Government provided Vt1.1 billion and the Enhanced Integrated Framework provided Vt300 million for the rejuvenation of the seafront, upgrades at the portside precinct, and the coastal protection of Fatumaru Bay Park.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Prime Minister expressed gratitude on behalf of the people of Vanuatu to the donors for their support, and stated his belief that with full completion, Port Vila could become one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world. The spectacular market buildings are proudly awaiting their new tenants and are stunning pieces of architecture in keeping with a Melanesian style. These market houses will be for Made In Vanuatu products, and are to be managed by the Department of Industry.
The park is durable with sturdy elements such as pre-cast concrete seats, stainless steel handrails and balustrades and robust playground equipment. The promenade and the sea wall have been designed around the theme of an unfurling pandanus mat with the fringe of the mat hanging over the edge of the seawall and the promenade in alternating concrete elements and finishing. The development of local skill in the construction phase has been significant with as many 120 local staff working on the project across Fatumaru Bay Park and the Seafront, many learning new skills and ways of working under strict health, safety and environmental guidelines applied by the contractor, Hawkins International. The Port Vila Municipal Council will be managing the park areas once fully completed and handed over by the contractors.
Port Vila residents and visitors have been making a lot of use of the parks and facilities before the official opening, enjoying the access to the beaches and the ocean once again and children loving the fabulous playgrounds. The Deputy Prime Minister spoke about the importance of looking after this park to ensure its sustainability for years to come. In his speech he also spoke about how the ways in which the new seafront will benefit the whole country.