24 Jul 2006

Solomons' Chamber of Commerce wants Chinese involved in Chinatown development plans

6:03 pm on 24 July 2006

The chairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce has called for more consultation with the local Chinese community over the redevelopment of Chinatown.

Peter Goodwin has reiterated the Chamber's submissions over options for the rebuilding of Honiara's Chinatown which was burnt down during riots in April.

Mr Goodwin has also questioned the wisdom of some of the options for redevelopment received by the Honiara City Council and released to local media today.

He says in particular the suggestion that leases be reclaimed sends a negative message to foreign investors.

Mr Goodwin says that as the primary stakeholder, the Chinese community must fill the major role in any Chinatown redevelopment plan.

"When we're dealing with a section of the community that was hard-hit in April, that was serving in many respects as the engine room for the private sector in Honiara, and that have not been able to restart, that if you're going to have any plan for redevelopment of the Chinatown site, then it must include dialogue with the Chinese themselves."