Fiji's Port Denarau to get makeover
Fiji's Port Denarau Marina is set for an upgrade, which could include a new sports stadium.
Fiji's Port Denarau Marina is set for a substantial upgrade, with secure berthing for boats during the cyclone season, facilities for boat repairs, and a proposed new sports stadium.
Although the proposal isn't signed off yet, and awaiting approval subject ot the Mangrove Resource Management Act, the CEO of the marina, Nigel Skeggs, says an environmental plan is in place.
He told Alex Perrottet the marina, which transfers over three quarters of a million people a year, has a great potential for expansion.
NIGEL SKEGGS: We have the facilities here in terms of having the boats, but now we would like the develop the industry further, and look at a) more berthing for the boats, which allow them to have more secure berthers during the cyclone season and therefore extend our season, and secondly to look at developing the industry in terms of the repairs and maintenance business. This is particularly important for the super yachts and our commercial boats in the West and we see some great opportunities to upskill the workforce in Fiji, to have the facilities here and to a degree, compete with Australia and New Zealand on the repairs and maintenance business.
ALEX PERROTTET: In terms of more development, we're talking about a new stadium with 20,000 seats, residential apartments and a maritime school - can you tell me a little about those proposals?
NS: Yes certainly, well as part of building the boatyard we'd like to get into the superyacht market, we're looking at putting in a 600-tonne travel lift, so to support our plans and the develop the skill-set in Fiji it's important that we have quite an integrated area so the reason we're looking to put in a maritime school is to start working with the local colleges and universities to make sure we have a good trade scheme in place that will allow apprentices to come in, do their school work but also get a practical element by working right next door to the yard. So it's a long-term plan that will involve upskilling our workforce to ensure we can offer the services that we advertise. At the moment we're looking at a stadium of around 20,000 capacity. As a company ourselves we're looking to create the land but we would probably not be in a position to build the stadium. However we will work with government and the local sports council with the goal of putting a stadium there for the western side. I think for all Fijians our major sport is of course the Fiji Sevens and even though we are a top-tier team we don't have the opportunity to host such an event. So we're hoping that if we can bring a world-class stadium into the Western Division where we have plenty of accommodation available both for the players and the supporters, that one day we may well see the international sevens hosted here in Fiji.
AP: How helpful do you think the democratic elections in September were in terms of restoring outsider investors' faith in Fiji, particularly the tourism industry?
NS: "Well I think that there's no doubt that having the elections and being known as a democratic country has had great effects. We are seeing incredible investor confidence and in fact a lot of people are trying to get in and invest in Fiji because they see the opportunities here."
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