8 Feb 2019

Fiji govt to prosecute rogue resort island developer

9:56 am on 8 February 2019

The Fijian government says it will prosecute a Chinese resort developer for breaching environmental conditions for a project on Malolo island.

Malolo Island

Photo: Google Maps

Freesoul Real Estate Development has begun constructing a resort with plans for around 370 bures on Malolo just off Fiji's main island Viti Levu.

Some of the bungalows were to be built over the water and others amid protected mangroves.

Villagers on the island this week called for the construction of the resort to stop because they said it was damaging their islands' environment.

In a statement yesterday Fiji's environment minister, Mahendra Reddy, said the company's original plans had been rejected in December last year after an environmental impact assessment determined they would be too destructive.

He said approval was instead given for a smaller land-based version of the project with only 105 bures to be constructed under stringent conditions including explicit instructions that there be no development of the foreshore.

Minister Reddy said that by continuing its original plans, Freesoul Real Estate Development breached the conditions placed on its development project.

He said his ministry was working closely with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to make sure the company was prosecuted for the offences and environmental damage it had committed on Malolo island.