Mt. Vaea Fireworks Protestor Remains Fearful

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Mataeliga Pio Sioa, Newsline Samoa newspaper editor. A veteran journalist in broadcast and print media.

  •  Mt. Vaea resident protestor Logona Paul Meredith (inset)  and the stone boulders that are an added worry in the case of any mountainside landslide.
    Mt. Vaea resident protestor Logona Paul Meredith (inset)  and the stone boulders that are an added worry in the case of any mountainside landslide.

A Mt. Vaea resident, is not giving up protest at safety risks for families in the vicinity of the mountainside location of the fireworks, during the recent New Year midnight celebration.

Logona Paul Meredith, lives at his family home next to the selected location of  the fireworks.

He circulated a protest petition from families on the mountain-side to stop the fireworks but was unsuccessful in doing so.

The safety issues he raised did draw the attention of the Government and they offered several safety measures to minimise the risk during the fireworks.

A study of the danger zone before the fireworks made it possible to alert the fire services to hose the area down to keep it wet and minimise the risk of starting a fire.

Consultations with the protesting residents to assure their safety were also carried out before the late night celebration of the New Year lit up the sky .

Logona is concerned that the locationon land and in nearby residential areas is a major safety risk.

He was reassured from aerial studies of the site that identified the danger zone that the risks can be reduced but he was not convinced.

“They showed me an aerial view of the centre point for the fireworks and the surrounding danger zone but as a former aircraft engineer with the New Zealand navy, I don’t agree,” said a doubting Logona.

“When you shoot fireworks up, the centre point can be shifted out of location by the winds and that will move the danger zone and put homes at risk that were not anticipated at first.”

The protesting resident would rather the site be relocated back close to the sea where the fireworks pose little danger because a burning spark or exploding gun power will happen out at sea.

An added complaint by the Mt. Vaea resident are the large mountain side clearing that has exposed the land to the dangers of landslide from heavy rains.

Logona feared the dangers of large stone boulders left exposed on the clearing of the site, if or  when they roll down the hill from a landslide.

The Mt. Vaea location for the fireworks was reportedly chosen by the PM. It was the first time it has bee staged away from the seas side area of Apia further inland and on a higher ground elevation.

The issue remains unsettled and it’s not known when or if there will be any more fireworks and whether the location will still be preferred to the seaside front of the township.