The Gizo Local Planning Scheme, which was developed over the last two years, was finally approved at a signing ceremony in Gizo this week.

The signing was undertaken by the Minister for Lands, Housing & Survey, Hon. Andrew Manepora’a and the Western Province Minister for Lands, Hon. Billy Veo, who is also the Chair of the Western province Planning & Development Board. Also present were the Western Province Deputy Premier Marlon Lopoto, Board members and staff of Western Provincial Government, the Ministry of Lands, Housing & Survey Permanent Secretary Stanley Waleanisia and Ministry staff, Peter Lothian representing the Australian Government, and SPC’s Chief Technical Adviser at the Ministry, Alan McNeil.

Ministry officers Buddley Ronnie and Ckemeron Willie outlined the process that has led to the finalisation of the Gizo Local Planning Scheme, which included preparation of a study of the town, consultation meetings with locals, exhibition of a draft Local Planning Scheme with further consultations which included schools, then finalisation and endorsement of the draft by the Provincial Planning & Development Board. The Local Planning Scheme is the first of its kind for Gizo, and it sets controls and guidelines for how the town is intended to be developed into the future. The Scheme presents an overall vision for the town and imposes zoning and overlay controls over land parcels in an effort to segregate incompatible land uses and encourage particular types of development in defined locations as a means of exerting greater control over future land uses. The Scheme maps the particular parts of town that are subject to natural hazards, and sets controls on how those areas should be developed in the future. Furthermore, the Scheme presents concept plans and drawings for how public areas should be developed, including landscaping, community facilities and formalised pedestrian access, for the benefit of residents and tourists alike.

Speaking at the ceremony, Hon. Andrew Manepora’a commented that the Gizo Local Planning Scheme is the culmination of two years collaboration between the Western Provincial Government and his Ministry, with technical support provided by SPC’s advisers and financial support of the Australian Government. Hon. Billy Veo in his speech thanked the Ministry, SPC and Australian Government, and noted the need for his Board to continue to strive for improving the face of Gizo, and for the Ministry to continue to provide support to the Board as it progresses the Scheme. Hon. Marlon Lopoto further added that he would like to see a Local Planning Scheme prepared for Noro township, which is experiencing rapid growth and change and is therefore in need of improved planning. Peter Lothian congratulated the physical planning team on their excellent presentation of the Scheme preparation process, and stated that the Australian Government is proud to be involved in supporting the preparation of the Gizo Local Planning Scheme. Alan McNeil also congratulated the physical planning team, commenting that the team is now capable of preparing schemes in other urban centres of Solomon Islands, and that the Western Province should now use the Scheme as their “Bible” for determining future developments in the town.

The Gizo Local Planning Scheme was formally approved at the ceremony this week and will be gazetted shortly and posted on the Ministry of Lands, Housing & Survey website. For further enquiries, please contact the Gizo Lands Office or Buddley Ronnie or Ckemeron Willie at the Ministry of Lands, Housing & Survey.

Media Contact:
Sonal Aujla- Media Assistant, SPC, email: [email protected]