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Rainmaker Hotel will soon be completely demolished

What remains of the once magnificent Rainmaker Hotel will soon be completely demolished by local company E&W Construction that won the bid for the contract — for $200,000.


Demolition of the Rainmaker Hotel is funded under the fiscal year 2014 budget which set aside $300,000 for the work under the Special Programs category.


In addition to demolition work, E&W Construction also won the contract for the removal of asbestos from the site, for the amount of $90,000 for a period of 120 days.


Company owner Topusalaia Lautogia Taula told Samoa News yesterday that despite reports from other media outlets that their company has already begun the removal of asbestos, this is not true, as he is still awaiting the arrival of necessary gear, including special suits and breathing equipment needed in order to carry out the job.


(Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used for everything from fire-proof vests to home and commercial construction. It is known for its heat resistance and insulating properties, however, it is highly toxic and known to cause mesothelioma cancer. It is banned in more than 50 countries — but not the US — and its use has been dramatically restricted in others).


Topusalaia said he didn’t order the asbestos gear until his company won the bid for the contract, and once it arrives the asbestos will be removed immediately.


In the meantime, his workers are at the Rainmaker Hotel everyday removing debris and large wood pieces, clearing the way to make the asbestos removal easier.


The Rainmaker Hotel, once a premier spot in the South Pacific, has been defunct for more than a decade. Only the west side of the hotel has been reconstructed and is now a popular spot for both locals and tourists — Sadie’s by the Sea.


The abandoned side of the hotel however, has become a hangout spot for local teens. During the recent Flag Day fautasi race, Samoa News employees came across a group of teenagers drinking beer and being rowdy on the second floor, overlooking the swimming pool. The teens were breaking bottles and glass and screaming profanities at the passing fautasi.


Topusalaia said sometimes when his crew arrives at the worksite, they find a group of girls hanging out there, including young lovebirds making out in different areas of the building.


Because of the presence of asbestos, parents are advised to talk to their teens about staying away from the Rainmaker Hotel. The World Health Organization reports that 43,000 people die annually from asbestos and the long latency period (it can be anywhere from 10 to 50 years between exposure and diagnosis of mesothelioma) has contributed to an uncertain future for many.


E&W Construction will be demolishing the three remaining buildings of what once was the ‘flagship of the South Pacific’ — as the hotel was referred to in its heydays. The ground will be leveled and it is unclear what will be erected at the site, although plans include a Polynesian-themed tourist cultural center.