Koror State Government and KSPLA both objected strongly to the recent letter from national Public Works Director Brian Melairei, turning over the management of the Koror-side of Palau-Japan Friendship Bridge (KB Bridge) Park to Ministry of Community & Cultural Affairs.
On May 24th, Public Works Director Melairei sent a letter to Minister Baklai Temengil-Chilton turning over the management of the Koror side of the KB Bridge Park saying that “for the time being Koror State is handling the regular operation of the park. However, this park has to be formally turned over to an appropriate agency for its proper operation and maintenance…MCCA is the most relevant agency to take over the management of this park.”
In a letter signed by both Koror State Governor Franco Gibbons and KSPLA Chairwoman Rosemary Mersai to President Tommy Remengesau Jr. regarding the turnover letter, both expressed, “For years now, KSG has controlled access to the park area, water area, and all recreational uses of the area to the exclusion of the ROP. Koror State has also maintained the area, kept it clean and available for public. The KSPLA and KSG do not intend to relinquish control of the area to ROP or to any Ministry as stated by Director Melairei.”
Koror State Government and its Public Land Authority contested that the Koror-side of the KB Bridge Park was never turned over to the national government. Furthermore, they asserted that only easement approvals for the improvement of the park were issued to the national government and not land use right.
Koror State stressed that it has been maintaining the park since 2014 to the present day. “Koror State Government has been responsible for maintenance of the park area, removing trash, paying electrical bills and controlling access to the park area by locking the access gate every evening.”
It further states, “the Land Settlement Agreement and Amendment No. 1 to the Land Settlement Agreement were never formally amended to allow ROP control over the park area and improvements and neither KSG nor the KSPLA has consented to any transfer of interests in the KB park areas to the ROP.”
Director Melairei was reached for comments regarding this matter but this publication went to print before his comments were received.
In 2014, both Koror side and Airai side of Palau-Japan Friendship Bridge (otherwise known as KB Bridge) were recipients of the stimulus grants from Republic of China-Taiwan for extensive improvements. The improvements were in phases which include improvement to access ramps, better access to the water, picnic huts, play grounds for children, new larger bathrooms, lighting, floating pontoons, floating trampoline and others.
Both parks serve the general public. To use the Airai-side hut, Airai State charges a user fee. Koror-side park is free of charge for public use and is currently maintained by Koror State Government. (By L.N. Reklai)