After two years of meticulous planning, the nation’s first ever passenger lift at the Ministry of Justice building has opened.
The handover and blessing ceremony of the Ministry of Justice passenger lift, the new veranda and fit for purpose toilet facility took place on earlier today.
Esteemed guests included the King’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters, members of the Cook Islands National Disability Council, Minister of Justice Mac Mokoroa and Minister for Cook Islands Investment Corporation Albert Nicholas.
During early consultations between Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and other key stakeholders held in November 2021, it was agreed that an enclosed passenger lift be constructed, together with appropriate fit for purpose toilet facilities.
CIIC Minister Albert Nicholas says the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) building in Rarotonga has finally addressed major accessibility issues to public services and to the justice system, and accessibility of employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, particularly the infirm, elderly, and disabled.
“This problem has existed since the building was completed in 2004 and since then the Government and the wider community, including the Cook Islands National Disability Council have voiced their concerns about the lack of easy and safe access to the building by its members,” Mr Nicholas says.
“Addressing these concerns has been a priority for both the Ministry of Justice, Cook Islands Investment Corporation, and the Cook Islands government as a whole, over many years.”
It has taken two years to plan, secure project funding and construct the nation’s first passenger lift.
Planning has been meticulous, requiring a variety of engineering reports, and geo technical reports.
All of these reports were thoroughly peer reviewed, to ensure this project will deliver what needs to be delivered, as well as be resilient to storm and sea surges, due to its close proximity to the ocean.
Phoenix Elevators Ltd, a specialist lift supplier/installer from New Zealand with vast Pacific Island experience, was awarded Stages 1 and 2 contracts to design and install the lift, and AJ Plumbing & Electricals Ltd was subcontracted to install the associated electrical installations.
Landholdings Ltd was engaged to work alongside Phoenix Elevators to construct the lift shaft structure.
Construction of the lift shaft and the installation of the lift was challenging as works needed to be done around the courts schedule, ensuring that court sittings were not disrupted.
In addition to the new lift were the construction of the new veranda and the upgrade of the public toilet, Minister Nicholas says.
Local companies Taio Builders and Rarotonga Plumbing were contracted for the upgrade of the new toilet facility and the new veranda was constructed by Taio Builders.
“Despite these challenges we are finally here for the handover and blessing of the first ever passenger lift in our country, as well as a new fit for purpose toilet facility and new veranda.
“It’s great to celebrate the completion of this very important project, one that will address a major need, and to ensure our infrastructure is fit for purpose and serves all our people effectively.”
Images of the Opening of the MoJ Lift: