Kawenu dispute reaches court
The works proceeding at Kawenu Beach have been stopped until later today (Tuesday) by Justice Dudley Aru to give the project management time to answer objections to the works raised by the families Sope, Saurei and Bakokoto.
Monday morning Justice Aru heard Mr John Malcolm for the claimants in chambers.
Mr Malcolm made it clear his submission does not refer to lease 11/OF12/003 issued to Terra Holdings, only to adjacent custom land to which the defendant can have no claim. Ownership has never been decided in a court.
The claimants maintain that bulldozing is proceeding beyond the narrow strip of land which is defined by lease title 11/OF12/003 - land outside the municipal boundary. They are seeking a court order to immediately halt the works.
Defendants Terra Holdings said they were given insufficient time for a response, only being served the case submission late on Friday.
Their response will be heard today.
Work has now been proceeding for more than a week, allegedly beyond the leased area.
Certain safety measures required by the Environment Department do not appear to be in place, one being silt curtains to minimise pollution of adjacent bay water and Vila Harbour.
The project is planned to occupy the only stretch of public beach left in Port Vila Harbour and has aroused considerable attention.
The area is used daily for fishing and bathing by residents of the town and Ifirans who oppose its transformation.
It has also been home to a large colony of fiddler crabs and a variety of species of mangrove.