Article via Post Courier
Date 25th August 2016
PORT Moresby is a city changing faster than at any other time we can recall.
Driving around the six new roads that the Government built at a cost of K700 million, the Gerehu to Hanuabada, Gerehu to 9 Mile, Gordons Industrial Road Stage 2, Kookaburra, Erima to 9 Mile and the Paga Hill ring road, you get a sense of what is being achieved and where things are headed.
When the Government decided to fund these new roads some years back, there was criticism that there was an unfair distribution of infrastructure works benefiting the Nation’s Capital alone.
But as you drive along these completed roads today you will realise and appreciate that the decision was a right one in that Port Moresby is the Capital of PNG and the gateway to the rest of the country.
The road projects will ease traffic congestion and improve traffic flow, and give our capital a big facelift, said Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at that time.
K400 million will come from the National Budget while K300 million will be a soft loan from the EXIM Bank of China.
David Conn, chief executive officer of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI), says the improvements will prove ‘a game changer’ for the city of Port Moresby, and will open up large tracts of the city for further development.
One such major development is the Paga Hill Estate project which is expected to be ready to play a key role hosting the Leaders’ meeting at the APEC Summit in Port Moresby in 2018.
THE growing cafe and restaurant outlets just off the Paga Hill ring road.
The Paga Hill area had been a squatter settlement since the mid-1990s, when a National Housing Corporation site was decommissioned. In May 2012, the company behind the project, Paga Hill Development Company, attracted controversy when it began evicting squatters’, prompting an injunction. Eventually, a court ordered the squatters to move on. And in June 2014, the company resettled the 2500-strong community after buying land at nearby Six Mile and moving them to that site, at the company’s expense.
The ring road has opened up Paga point, reconnecting people to the waterfront on an area that was previously off-limits to most.
Every weekend, you can now find people enjoying the drive, stopping to enjoy the view and take photos. Port Moresby’s growing cafe and restaurant culture is also seeing new outlets open at the waterfront, and we’re getting a taste of what the developers of Paga Hill have been promising – the ability to walk along the water’s edge, enjoying the open space, cafes, restaurants and shops along the way. Even the city is cleaner for the settlement’s relocation. Where hundreds of people would loiter through the day, selling buai and congregating, the city is cleaner and less congested, making it more accessible to residents and visitors.