Communities in Central Guadalcanal have reiterated their support for the Tina Hydro Project. This was highlighted by chiefs and leaders in eleven communities visited by community awareness workers of the Tina Hydro Project from 2 – 9 December. Chiefs and villagers welcomed the prospect of employment opportunities, community businesses, improved infrastructure such as roads, water, schools and clinics as developments stemming from the Tina Hydro Project.
The Tina River Hydro Project is a major national energy project designed to meet 80% of Honiara’s electricity demands. Construction work on the project is expected to start in late 2015 and power is scheduled to come on line in 2018.
Villages around the project site were briefed by community based awareness workers on the project’s progress, upcoming activities and the benefits of the project to communities. Villages such as Pamphylia, Kaimomosa, Marava and Managi in Central Guadalcanal were enthusiastic about the project, and called for its immediate start. Peter from Pamphylia Village said “there is an urgent need to get work on the hydro dam started so that we can get development happening in our area, and get the benefits to our people.” While there was wide spread support for the Tina Hydro Project, community members sought reassurance that the benefits from the project reaching communities.
Many highlighted the failure of the nearby Gold Ridge Mine to achieve any community development. In response, community awareness workers outlined, Tina Hydro’s benefit share scheme and the plan to use a community benefit share company to ensure that the returns from the TRHDP would go to local communities and be invested in health, education, infrastructure and community activities.
The awareness talks were carried out by key members of the local community who were trained and supported by TRHP office.
“By having local community members talk to their own families and friends about the project, we believe this is a good way of getting the correct information out to the effected communities,” said TRHP Community Liaison Manager, Brally Tavalia. “The feedback from the people will come back to the project office, through our community workers and help us in taking the project forward.”
The project is currently undergoing an international tender that will take place in April 2015 to select a developer to build, own and operate the Tina Hydro Power Scheme. Construction work on the Tina Hydro Dam is expected to start in late 2015 with electricity production scheduled for 2018.