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Parliament has passed the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill 2016 on Monday the 13th of February 2017.

It is an Act to amend the existing Town and Country Planning Act (CAP.154) which was passed shortly after independence in 1978.

As was stated in its objects and reasons, despite minor amendments since that time, it has not kept up pace with modern day planning practices thus the bill seeks to make various reforms, including changing the title of the Act to the more relevant terminology of Planning and Development.

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Survey and Member of Parliament for West Guadalcanal Hon. Moses Garu when winding up the debate of this bill said the Act is out of date and badly in need of overhaul.

Hon. Garu further added that changes proposed in the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill 2016 will clearly control development activities in our towns and urban centres. He said his Ministry believes the various planning and development boards that the Bill proposed will see positive changes to new development of registered lands in the country.

“Furthermore Sir, I believe this Bill is geared towards seeing much more coordinated, orderly and well planned development in the next 20 to 30 years throughout our urban towns”

The Lands Minister told Parliament although it is totally impossible to change the face of Honiara at this present time, his ministry will ensure to turn things around and quickly comply with the new regulations and standards.

“So Sir, I see the timing of this Bill as critically very relevant”
Minister Garu believed the passage of the Bill will improve Honiara and the urban service and development centres throughout Solomon Islands to slowly transform into a better planned and orderly place in the near future.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) and Member of Parliament for North West Choiseul, Hon Connelly Sandakabatu says the seven recommendations that his Committee came up with in their report will surely assist the Government in bettering the existing Act.

MPs who spoke on the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill 2016 supported the Bill despite sharing their doubts on achieving the expected outcomes.

The Bill went through the Committee of the Whole House without amendments and passed in third reading.

The details of the proposed amendments can be seen in the explanatory Memorandum to the Bill on this Parliament website as well.

The Act will become Law and be effective after it is being gazette.

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