The Australian funded Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program will build a new wharf and barge landing area for Buala, the primary freight point for Isabel Province.
The project is valued at a SBD45 million (AUD8.6 million). At its quarterly meeting on 14 December, Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) cochairs Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Jimmie Rodgers and Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan said the project was crucial to connecting Isabel to Honiara and other provinces. It will help generate social and economic opportunities when linked to the Buala market, currently being rebuilt by SIIP.
‘A new wharf project, together with the new market, has the potential to transform Isabel’s economic status, and provide for the safe and efficient transfer of cargo and passengers,’ said Dr Rodgers.
‘This project demonstrates the commitment of both governments to connectivity and sustainable economic development in Solomon Islands.’ SIIP will construct a new wharf, barge landing, shelter and toilet block, and build a large protective sea wall.
Dr Strahan emphasised Australia’s commitment to delivering high quality climate and disaster resilient infrastructure through SIIP. ‘The recent earthquakes and flooding are a reminder of the need for high quality, sustainable infrastructure that stand the test of time and our changing climate,’ said Dr Strahan.
‘I’m very glad Australia has been able to respond to a request from the Isabel Provincial Government to address the poor condition of the current wharf. As I witnessed during my October visit to Isabel, the wharf is in simply not fit for purpose. During king tides, it’s submerged.’
‘Integrating the wharf and market projects will generate much stronger social and economic benefits for the people of Isabel, and contribute to the economic growth of Solomon Islands.’ Meanwhile responding to the announcement by SIIP, Premier of Isabel Province Rhoda Sikilabu expressed heartfelt appreciation and described it as exciting news for both the government and people of Isabel Province.
“I am elated that the project has been approved and will soon become a reality for us, this is a significant Christmas gift for me and my people. The wharf is a very important piece of infrastructure which we very much depend on, and I am thankful for both Governments of Solomon Islands and Australia for recognizing this through the endorsement and approval of the Buala Wharf project.
“The project is one of the greatest achievements for the province under my leadership, setting a landmark for women, youth and children of Isabel and future generations, for which I am very proud of. First the market and now the wharf, these are very rare opportunities which Isabel Province has been given, thank you tumas!”
SIIP’s current pipeline of nine projects includes the Noro Port redevelopment, provincial airfield upgrades for Taro and Seghe (a project led by New Zealand), water and sanitation feasibility studies for the proposed Bina Harbour Project, funding for a new water supply system in Gizo, the Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre, and three new provincial markets in Buala, Malu’u and Seghe