25 May 2016

Huge Cooks water project stopped by land issues

12:51 pm on 25 May 2016
Pipes ready for installation in Rarotonga, Cook Islands as part of Te Mato Vai project to upgrade water supply

Pipes ready for installation in Rarotonga, Cook Islands as part of Te Mato Vai project to upgrade water supply Photo: Supplied

Land issues have halted the $US40 million Te Mato Vai water project in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, with the contractors leaving the project.

The water supply on Rarotonga is currently untreated and Te Mato Vai was meant to change that.

If completed, it would provide all properties with clean drinking water.

Work stopped on the project last year after landowners in Titikaveka did not want their land being bulldozed to make way for water pipes.

The landowners said they had not been properly consulted.

In December, the Chinese contractors CCECC left the country with the job incomplete and this week the government has terminated another contractor, Kupa Engineering and Water, or KEW.

This comes as the government revealed it was facing further issues ahead of stage two of the project beginning.

KEW's managing director Latu Kupa said land issues were something could only be sorted out by the government and the landowners.

The government said well over 90y percent of stage one was complete and that the Chinese company had finished its part of the contract.

Contractors work on the Te Mato Vai water project in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Contractors work on the Te Mato Vai water project in Rarotonga, Cook Islands Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

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