Bishop Quinn appeals to governor to leave office with “memorial” of fixed roads
Leader of the Dioceses of Samoa Pago Pago has again wrote to Gov. Togiola Tulafono about the “terrible conditions” of the roads in the Tafuna area — mainly the roads in the Ottoville area, which are frequented by many residents and parishioners.
Bishop J. Quinn Weitzel in a May 3 letter informed the governor that these are not “private” roads, they are roads used by citizens of the territory as they drive to work, take children to school, go shopping, attend church, etc.
The Catholic church leader says he has been told that some machinery has been ordered to help pump water out of the “Mormon Lake” — which is located in front of the Mormon church in Ottoville. (A Public Works Department’s Vacuum (vecter) truck that was initially scheduled to arrive in the territory in June, is now scheduled to arrive in October.)
“This public road in front of the Mormon church floods every time we have rain. Many cars and pickups have been damaged by the deep waters,” he wrote. “Isn’t there something that our Public Works can do to assist in the proper conditioning of the roads?”
“Our local Representative has tried to receive assistance from Public Works but was told that you said these are ‘private’ roads,” the letter says. “This is not true. Our residents and all who use these roads could testify to their being ‘public’ roads.”
Togiola has stated on his radio program several times that it’s very difficult for the government to fix the Ottoville roads because the roads are on private property owned by the Haleck family. He says these roads have been used as public roads, although they are not public roads.
Bishop Quinn wrote, “I realize you are preparing to retire as governor. It would be a wonderful ‘memorial’ to know that our outgoing governor did try and correct a problem that a new governor would have to face.”
Tualauta Reps. Larry Sanitoa and Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr. have been pushing for funding to fix the Ottoville roads, especially the Mormon lake area, but without success. The lawmakers even sought and received help from the McConnell Dowell company last month to pump water out of the area and clear out the drainage.
However, the lake is again a problem after more rain this week.
Rep. Sanitoa requested Public Works to ask “McConnell Dowell again to help out in cleaning and draining the water” in front of the Mormon church.
“The water level now is unacceptable,” he wrote in an e-mail message to the DPW officials and recalled that on Monday this week, DPW was trying to block the overflow water from going over to another family’s property.
“Bottom line, the water level is terrible again and unfortunately the water is not going anywhere,” said Sanitoa. “Please, we need to drain it again.”