21 Feb 2005

Engineers set to start major infrastructure project on Pitcairn Island

11:35 am on 21 February 2005

The Pitcairn Commissioner is travelling from New Zealand to the territory this week to oversee the start of a six point six million US dollar project to upgrade the island's infrastructure and services.

Leslie Jacques says a refurbished jetty and slipway ought to be complete by August or September, and the money, to be spent over 18 months, will fund a study into building a breakwater.

But Britain isn't paying the 12-thousand US dollars needed for a new boatshed, and instead Pitcairners have launched their own charitable appeal with the backing of a US clothing company.

Commissioner Jacques says the larger projects do have the backing of the island's council and people.

"Well the Pitcairners have to realise that we've got to go actually go forward now. There's been quite a complex trial process, as you know, and that's divided the island, but what we have to do now, as Pitcairn comes to terms with its past, is build the future."

Mr Jacques says when officials and construction engineers arrive on the island with the equipment this week, it'll be the culmination of a year of planning.

He says Britain is paying three point six million US dollars, and the European Union three million US dollars.