A Fijian conservationist opposing a Suva tourism development with an estimated price tag of $US300 million is encouraged that the government has indicated that the development may not get under way.
The proposed build in the coastal suburb of Nasese, to be called Fiji's Tain Lun, is described as an integrated hotel. Its early design concepts show plans to include a hotel, marina and apartments.
The Chinese developers, Tian Lun Investment Ltd, plan to build on an area around one of Suva's last remaining mangrove forests at Leveti Creek.
The land set aside for the build is currently under a five-year lease which will end in June this year with the provision for a 99-year lease afterwards.
Community members in the area have opposed the construction.
Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Filimoni Vosarogo, told FBC News "there's been a lack of transparency" from the developers and from what he had seen it was "not encouraging" that the company would get its lease renewed.
"I have reviewed the file and will continue to monitor the remaining conditions of the development lease," Vosarogo said.
"If they have not substantially met the development lease conditions, there is no right to a renewal. Development lease comes to an end on the last date of the lease."
'Good sign' says conservationist
Conservationist, Reverend James Bhagwan said there was widespread community opposition to the development.
"We are grateful to hear the intention by the government to pay serious attention to our concerns," Bhagwan said.
"We take it as a good sign that the government is speaking out to it. We have written to the Prime Minister who has acknowledged the letter of our concerns.
"We have lots of comments from the community that this type of development is not wanted in the area and will not serve any greater purpose for the community or the greater Suva area.
"We're not anti-development, but what we're saying is we need to look at development from a perspective that places the environment at the centre, not at the periphery."
Bhagwan and others opposing the development are asking for the revocation or non-renewal of the lease, an explanation on how the initial five-year lease was given in the first place and for the remaining mangrove forests to be made a protected site.
Bhagwan said he had also heard concerns about the company itself and that Tian Lun Investment Ltd had attempted another development in Fiji.
"There are concerns about whether this company is actually bonafide, in terms of what it actually is able to do, or whether it's some sort of initial investor or developer that then takes the concept and gets funding elsewhere.
"People are still trying to find out what is the real situation with the company."
Bhagwan said there had still not been any community consultation on the proposed build from the company.