Deteriorating roads in West New Britain’s Hoskins LLG has been blamed on people’s ignorance of not letting work on certain road sections progress.
West New Britain Provincial Administrator Williamson Hosea said provincial government made a deal with the landowners to build and upgrade roads to pass through the villages in exchange for vital services like classrooms and health posts to be set up by the provincial government including compensation for properties destroyed for the road construction.
However, Mr Hosea said the people did not honor this commitment by continuously living at the same area were roads are been constructed and demanding for more compensation.
He also noted that the roads are been affected by the rising sea levels that have affected several roads to a deteriorating state.
Mr Hosea said the area were the people are settling is at a slope making it difficult for road work to progress, needing proper engineering experts to properly look at the roads before upgrade.
He also said the rising sea level is taking its toll on the villagers living the roads vulnerable to be covered by sea, including cash crops and livelihoods of the people.
He said the provincial government has funding for upgrading of the roads from Hoskins to Koimumu section however, people are been defensive over their land and refuse to move despite the threat from the soil erosion from the rising sea level.
He said the provincial government initially spent about K4.5m that was contracted to a certain construction company to upgrade the road however this did not eventuate, leaving the provincial government in court with the company to refund the funds.
He said it will cost about K3m to upgrade the road section from Hoskins to Koimumu and areas in Makasili in Talasea district.
Meanwhile, locals in Makasili village are threatened by the rising sea level and the continues weathering of the soil along their coastlines.
A community school teacher Tito Wesley said locals have moved in wards due to the eroding of soil along their coastlines.
Community Schools and health posts feel threatened and maybe affected if the soil continues to erode. The villagers have come up with mangrove planting exercises, however major impacts from the erosion is already taking its toll.
Mr Wesley said the villagers may face shortage of land when they are forced to move inland.
Climate Change Development Authority Rep Ethel Namuri noted that provincial government and the locals need to communicate to come up with mitigation methods to address this.
She said locals in Makasili are not worried about their livelihoods rather more concerned that the Provincial Government compensate them for their Oil Palm plantations.
She stressed this after noting that locals were not concerned of their livelihood following the continues soil erosion along their coastline that is forcing them to move inland.
Ms Namuri stressed that locals should be more concerned for their livelihoods and not money.