Tualauta Reps reach out to gov’t for help after Tualauta floods yet again…
Tualauta Representatives, Larry Sanitoa and Florence Saulo have reached out to the government for assistance to craft a permanent solution to the flooding problem in their district following the downpour two weeks ago, which affected the Tualauta District severely.
Rep Sanitoa sought an update from Salu Tuigamala, Acting Director Territorial Office of Fiscal Reform, in regards to the Tualauta Mitigation Project in a letter Sanitoa sent last week, while Rep Saulo in a letter appealed to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga for the government to step in to address the flooding problem that Tualauta has had for the last twenty years.
SANITOA’S LETTER TO TOFR
Sanitoa wrote to Tuigamala, “This letter is to seek your assistance in providing the latest information about the infamous Tualauta Mitigation Project.”
He noted the last update provided for this project, “was that it was still pending reviews for Environmental & Historic Preservation (EHP) impact as of March, 2012. While the importance of these reviews is understood… it has now been over 5 years since this major project had been discussed and continually worked on without any actual work realized.”
The Tualauta faipule noted that as Department of Public Works moves diligently to expedite resurfacing road improvements and determines alternatives to mitigate the recurring problems with flooding in the Tualauta District, it is most critical now to discuss with the federal partners how to expedite implementing the Tualauta Mitigation Project.
“This pending mitigation project is meant to alleviate the ongoing water runoff that continues to create havoc for residents and motorists in Tualauta. Funding for this project is well over $8 million and aside from expediting the much needed flood mitigation project for Tualauta, once the funding is available, these monies would be a welcome infusion to help support our local economy as well,” said Sanitoa. He urged Tuigamala to look into the status of this project.
SAULO’S LETTER TO GOVERNOR
Tualauta Faipule, Saulo raised concerns with the constant flooding in Tualauta area, which has been a problem for the last twenty to forty years now, and “despite how much that has been said we can never over-state the urgency and severity of the situation.”
Saulo points out that the deluge that happened two weeks ago, “vividly illustrated the lack of proper drainage and flooding control measures in the Tafuna area,” and notes that while she’s “thankful for the wonderful road project which for the most part has been completed in the Ottoville, Fagaima and Fonoti areas, we still have another major problem to contend with.”
She stated, “As I had said from the start, our road works would be for naught if we cannot handle our flooding problem.
The Tualauta faipule noted that the flooded water originates from Malaeimi, Mapusaga and Faleniu going down towards Kokoland and continues on to Fonoti, Fagaima and Ottoville Roads, and that flooding is not only a problem, it is a reality of life.
Saulo said, ____“we need to find a way to channel all this excess water either for alternate use, or into the ocean. It is the only way we can keep ourselves from having to repair our roads every single time there is a downpour like the one we had last week.”
The Tualauta faupule describes how she was able to render temporary assistance during the floods, but fears it is not enough —which is why the government even more should step in.
“With your agreement, the Department of Public Works and related agencies can begin to implement some of the flood control measures that have been in the planning phase for years,” Saulo wrote, pointing to a flood mitigation plan that she understands was drawn up for the area stretching through Malaeimi Valley and into the Fagaima Fonoti area — yet its unclear why it has not been implemented.
“I was informed by the former Director of Public Works at the time that the flood mitigation plan would be able to alleviate the excess water problem that now plagues those areas. Perhaps it would be worth our effort to establish a task force to look into the cause of the delay and hopefully restart that project immediately,” she said.
To resolve the problem of the pool in front of the Ottoville Mormon Chapel, the Tualauta faipule suggested “a do-over of the drainage system.This can be accomplished by installing bigger drainage pipes and directing them through the dirt-road across the street between the Methodist Center fence and the rock wall on the other side.”