Sunday, December 28

Mongoose and mud

The controversial indoor stadium at Nikao, to be built using a Chinese soft loan mainly by Chinese workers, was in the poo again in early December after heavy rain caused a deluge of mud to run downhill from the construction site. The mud blocked drains, flowed into waterways (and eventually the lagoon), covered the back road and had Tepuka store owners worried that it might get into the shop. You can see in the video that a huge amount of soil has been excavated from the site, surrounded by a ditch. It looks rather like a squared-off Neolithic ring fort but all that’s stopping the soil being washed away is a low, somewhat insubstantial cloth fence. It’s surprising that more wasn’t washed away given how heavy the rain was but even more surprising is that nothing has been done to stop it happening again!
The National Environment Service (NES) director says that the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) had promised to put measures in place to prevent run-off but clearly haven’t done so. NES say they could halt the project if CIIC don’t get their act together but it won’t happen. The government and CIIC have been ignoring public opinion since the indoor stadium was proposed and they’re not going to stop now.
A lot of people think the indoor stadium is an unnecessary waste of money but even those who want one say it should have been locally designed, and built using local companies and suppliers. In fact the earthworks were done by a local construction company but CIIC weren’t able keep tabs on them properly, hence the mudslide. They’ve got no show of controlling the Chinese builders (70 to 100 of them are expected) so Rarotonga is going to end up with another shoddy, leaking, ugly, unsuitable building.
On top of that, the original landowners are annoyed that the Nikao CICC leased the land to government – it was originally gifted to the church in 1864 for missionary purposes. And the sewage problem has yet to be addressed. The Enviroflo system at Tereora College is notorious for its smell when the weather gets warm. Maybe it should be called the enviroverflo. It has trouble handling the resident population so something major needs to be done before several thousand athletes descend on the area.
Well, the Mongoose golden oldies rugby players weren’t worried about controversy when they assembled at the Nikao sports field below the Chinese stadium for their final game of the year. The most important part of any GO meeting is the after match function of course but the boys (and girl – Ake is the sole female GO rugby player) ran, walked and hobbled around what they renamed ‘Neehow Park’. Nihao is Chinese for ‘hello’ (but you knew that, didn’t you?)
The Mongoose might be a little slower on their feet these days but there’s nothing wrong with their wits.