The head of Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), chief executive Allan Jensen, says any suggestion that work being undertaken at the Arutanga harbour in Aitutaki is being done without environmental approval, and contrary to the law, is incorrect.
Mr Jensen says, “When the full detail of this project was announced last month, the announcement included the fact that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) had been submitted to the Aitutaki Environment Authority for consideration and approval.
“The announcement also stated that the Aitutaki Environment Authority had given the go ahead, for preliminary dredging of some lagoon mud; to allow the testing and training of operators for the new 50-tonne excavator brought in for the work.
“A key benefit of this preliminary dredging was that material dug out was able to be used to build up and level an area used for the recent bi-centennial celebrations to mark the arrival of Christianity in Aitutaki held over the last two weeks. This work was appreciated by the Aitutaki Island Government in terms of having a good area to host many of the formal events for the bi-centennial celebrations.”
“Romani Katoa, project manager, said “the preliminary dredging programme and training of the operators are progressing well. We are still awaiting the result of the consultations on, and the evaluation of, the EIA, and we are looking forward to delivering this project for the Aitutaki community, in conjunction with the Ports Authority and Aitutaki Island Government.”