By Julie Badui Owa – EMTV News, Lae
Morobe’s Provincial Lands and Physical Planning Board Chairman Thomas Pelika, has questioned the approval of building plans approved by the government and Lae City Council. Six months after his appointment as Chairman, Pelika said the Provincial Building Board should have consulted the Lands and Physical Planning before approving building plans for businesses to operate in the city.
Last week, the public in Lae raised concerns regarding businesses operating in residential areas in Lae. Pelika supported the concerns raised by the public questioning the National and the Provincial Governments for allowing businesses to build shops in areas that are zoned as residential areas.
The concerns were raised after a family reported the operations of a sausage factory near their residential area. The factory was closed after two inspections were carried out by the Lae City Council Health Division ordering the closure.
Pelika said once the board is effective, investigations into the approvals made and given to businesses to operate in illegal areas will be conducted. He said those who are involved will be held to account for mishandling the zoning use as per the Physical Planning Act 1989.
According to the Physical Planning Act 1989, under section 72, the purposes for which a building may be used in a zone are the purpose specified in respect of that zone. In Urban cities, the areas are subdivided into different zones for commercial, industrial and residential purposes.
However, in Lae, commercial businesses are operating in residential areas and factories are built in commercial areas.