16 Mar 2006

Fiji National Trust wants stronger protections for national park land after sand dune battle

8:42 pm on 16 March 2006

The National Trust of Fiji says it wants a buffer zone around archeologically significant sand dunes at Sigatoka.

Much of the dunes are within a national park, but excavation of sand from adjacent privately owned land has sparked protests and a government imposed temporary halt on the mining.

The Trust director, Elizabeth Erasito, says they are opposed to the mining, not because the private land is archeologically significant, but because of the impact it might have on the national park land, which the Trust administers.

She says the Government is looking at creating buffer zones around the park.

"The other decision that could be made is a decision to disallow the Public Trustee from allowing the contract to be made between the Public Trustee and the contractor that is removing the sand. The land in question is looked after by the Public Trustee. So the question that arises is why the Public truste approved the sand extraction in the first place."