Bustling urban centres in Fiji need an urgent review of its plans and policies as Planning Schemes for Suva, Lautoka and Nadi were prepared more than 30 years and are, therefore, quite outdated.

This was conveyed by the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Hon. Premila Kumar to key stakeholders and representatives from respective municipal councils at a meeting held at the Suva City Council this morning.

The Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Community Development is overseeing the development of a Master Plan in collaboration with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise where they discussed strategies and their expertise on integrated urban solutions and economic and urban master planning.

Minister Kumar said the Master Plan would provide a roadmap for all future development decisions to guide and coordinate the various government agencies in carrying out development works.

She added, “The Strategic Spatial Master Plan will determine the location, size and boundary of the urbanized area for Viti Levu by examining the major transport connectivity within the mainland and to the surrounding outer islands”.

“The Plan will also indicate the land use zones to guide development. The urbanized areas will be considered in tandem with the existing nature reserves and significant water bodies to ensure the preservation and sustainable use,” Minister Kumar emphasised.

She said a more detailed approach will be taken based on the Singaporean experience with accumulated knowledge gained from planning in other parts of the world.

Some of the areas that the strategic Master Plan will address includes major transportation; land use planning and zoning; major historic, tourism and nature sites covering land and waterways; the tourism industry and urban settlements.

Chairman of Morrow Architects, Dr Liu Thai Ker, who has been engaged by the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, notes that having a long term Master plan is “befitting of a quick transforming country” like Fiji.

“Imparting our skills to the rural people ensures that this plan will be better implemented,” Dr Liu added.