No funding for Tahiti army base clean-up

The French High Commissioner in French Polynesia says he has no budget to clean up a military base which has been returned to the township of Arue on Tahiti.

In an interview with the La Depeche de Tahiti, Rene Bidal said the money at his disposal was for studies about future use of the bases but not for dealing with pollution.

The three-hectare site was ceded for a symbolic euro, with the local council in charge of its rehabilitation.

According to the paper, the cost to clean up after the military, such as removing asbestos and spilled fuel, had blown out from $US300,000 to $US1.2 million because of tightened environmental regulations.

Mr Bidal said he was aware of the difficulties but points to the high commercial value of prime land.

He also said the Arue mayor had not officially approached him for help.

The base was one of several to be closed after the French military scaled down its presence in the territory which for 30 years had served as a nuclear weapons test ground.


Photo: RNZI / Walter Zweifel Old French military facility in Tahiti