“It Deserves the Necessary Recognition and Protection”
This were the words by Fiji Museum Director-Sipiriano Nemani on the current Proposed Rezoning of the Thurston Gardens Car Park for the construction of the Indian Embassy.
He added based on the Statement made by the Fiji Museum Board of Trustees on their “Written Objection” to the Suva City Council, this is the Result of Scientific Research undertaken by the Fiji Museum Archaeology Team illustrating the significant Heritage relevance of the Site.
“We would like to propose is basically perhaps through of coz the consent of the Director Lands, such been a crown land and of cause the SCC and Town Country Planning and of cause the Tui Suva to allow the Fiji Museum to conduct an Archeological Impact Assessment now this not a new thing, it has been happening around the country and is mandated under our legislation before any development ensures an Environment Impact Assessment and an Archaeological Impact Assessment has to be conducted first to ensure that the site is safe and doesn’t have any Historical or Archaeological Connotation”
Nemani says the Site not only has a Historical connection to the people of Suvavou but also to the people of Fiji.
“The initial lease that was given to the SCC by the crown land had the Term Thurston Gardens and Meke Grounds so basically, this spot here is the Meke Grounds the one that has been proposed, so it has significant and tangible heritage features and overtime it has been used as a cultural space in itself so not only does it have a historical connection to the people of Suvavou but it also has for the people of Fiji, used as a cultural space for Meke performances amongst others so it deserves the necessary recognition and of cause Protection as well”
And In response to the Minister for Lands –Ashneel Sudhakar comment on the Proposed site been currently used as a Car Park, Nemani says its safe to be used as a Car Park as they are using only the surface area so there’s not much excavation or unearthing done on the site.
The Fiji Museum Director says the Site was basically used for a Recreational Space and through Time their significant attributes and features have now contributed to what we call a Heritage Space that needs to be Protected.