Design work resumes in Sols for 2023 Pacific Games

1:54 pm on 8 October 2020

The construction of new venues for the 2023 Pacific Games is back on track, with a design team from China working with local authorities in Solomon Islands after completing two weeks in quarantine.

A number of projects funded by the Chinese government were scheduled to get underway this year, including the construction of a new national stadium in Honiara, before Covid-19 got in the way.

An aerial view of SINU

Looking down over the King George Panatina area where the main stadium for the 2023 Pacific Games will be built. Photo: SINU

The 17 project team members arrived on a repatriation flight from Guangzhou on 2 September and have all tested negative for Covid-19.

The Executive Director of the National Hosting Authority, Christian Nieng, said they have spent the past few weeks visiting local authorities, such as Solomon Water, Solomon Power and Honiara City Council.

"They need to pull together the design that we require for these seven projects," he said.

"They have architects, water engineers, electrical engineers, structural engineers, sport technology engineers etc. They are the ones that are on the ground doing investigations and ensuring that they comply with local standards and local authorities."

Christian Nieng is the Executive Director of the 2023 Pacific Games National Hosting Authority.

Christian Nieng is the Executive Director of the 2023 Pacific Games National Hosting Authority. Photo: Vinnie Wylie/RNZ Pacific

The infrastructure project was promised as a gift to Solomon Islands by China last year shortly after Taiwan pre-emptively ended its 36 year-long diplomatic relationship with the Pacific country in October.

The design staff are expected to return to China at the end of the month, once their concept designs are completed, and should be able to finalise their work before the end of the year.

"They have gathered the information that they require and they are finalising the minutes of the discussions between them and the different authorities and us the National Hosting Authority for us to finalise our discussions," Nieng explained.

"By the way things are going they should be able to do the design work by December and they'll go back to China to get the government to tender for construction. So that should give them ample time for them to prepare to come and commence the work on the first of May."

The seven ni-Vanuatu returned to Port Vila via this Solomon Airlines plane

A design team from China arrived on a repatriation flight from Guangzhou City in September. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Hilaire Bule

The CEO of the Pacific Games Council, Andrew Minogue, is pleased with the progress in Solomon Islands after a challenging year.

"There was progress before that flight arrived. A lot of work was being done remotely between Honiara and the teams in China," he said.

"That can obviously accelerate now that a group of those engineers and designers and architects are on the ground. It is happening - I'm getting reports every few days about meetings and plans that are being amended and drawn up."

A team from Indonesia is ready to start construction of the multi-purpose hall and is liaising with the Solomon Islands government over flights so they can get the work underway.