14 May 2009

Vanuatu World Heritage site may have been damaged by developers

1:56 pm on 14 May 2009

The manager for Vanuatu's first World Heritage site says land may have been cleared in the buffer zone without complete approval.

The Roi Mata Domain is found just off the coast of Vanuatu's Efate Island and was declared a world heritage site last year.

The site manager, Douglas Kalotiti, says Transpacific Real Estate Limited has negotiated with land owners to clear land for developments in the buffer zone.

But he says bulldozers have been at work and important trees marking the territory have been cleared, leaving no indication of where the site boundary lies.

"There should be an environmental assessment to be done first before clearing the land. But we're saying is no environmental assessment has been done but they cleared the land before the environmental assessment."

Douglas Kalotiti says all legal documents should also have been completed before land sales went ahead.