DESPITE being without a Mayor and Deputy Mayor, the town council at Mabaruma is working to undertake a number of projects this year, including the establishment of a new market.Mabaruma was commissioned as a new town following the March 18 Local Government Elections last year, but a split in the number of councillors who were elected to serve on the 12-member body has created some bottlenecks.
This led to a division on the council in selecting a Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Henry Smith was elected to serve as the town’s mayor; however,his position remains one on paper, since the decision was challenged in the courts by the Opposition PPP/C.
Despite the hiccup, the council has been meeting and Town Clerk, Barrington Ward,is working on the ground to ensure the projects identified and approved by the council materialise. These include the construction of a market at the Bumbury Hill/Wanaina junction on the periphery of the town.
Ward said that the works to the market will commence in the weeks ahead and the facility is expected to assist persons who travel from remote locations beyond Mabaruma, such as villages close to Wauna in marketing their produce. Ward said that the move will provide the residents with another option in addition to the market at Kumaka , the sub-region’s business hub. In addition, it will provide a means of income for residents of the communities there.
The market will be built near to a playground which is currently under construction nearby. The playground has been in the making for years. Despite the passage of sums of money for its construction and upkeep over the years, the project never materialised. During a site visit of the playground two Sundays ago, Ward and Smith noted that works are moving apace.
Sheets of rock which impede the foundation works were being removed. The general aesthetics of the area will be upgraded and these include the provision of floodlights.
A fence will be built around the playground while a volleyball court will be built adjoining the ground. A sum of $3.2M has been budgeted for the project while a sum of $2M has been budgeted for foundation works for the market.
The town council is also undertaking a similar project at Thomas Hill, a community near Central Mabaruma . A sum of $2M has been budgeted for foundation works to be undertaken there. In addition,several community road projects are expected to be undertaken this year. Several bus sheds have been built in recent weeks along the roadways at Mabaruma.
The roads fall under the ambit of the town council since they connect the communities to the main public road which falls under the responsibility of the Regional Democratic council (RDC). The roads include the Koberimo-Kumaka Road, a project which has been stalled for over a year.
When this publication visited the area in March 2016, several planks lay along a trail leading to the hill-top community of Koberimo. According to Ward, efforts are in train to ensure that the works to the road are completed,as part of the council’s project schedule.
The council’s agenda also includes the construction of the Town Hall. While works to the facility at the recreational ground at Mabaruma are almost complete, remedial works are expected to be undertaken to the building to ensure it meets the required specifications.