The first physical demonstration of the preparation work for Our Oceans Conference 2020 (OOC), took place on Tuesday with ground breaking ceremony for the renovation of Palau National Gymnasium, the main plenary session hall of Our Oceans Conference to be hosted in August of this year.

The extensive renovation project costs at little over $8 million dollars funded by grants from the Republic China-Taiwan and is expected to be completed by May of 2020.

According to Minister Charles Obichang of the Ministry of Public Infrastructures, Industries and Commerce, the renovation work will include extensive work on the entrance area of the facility, reception area, including removal of wood flooring, basketball post, sign boards, and bleachers.  Work also include installing an aluminum ceiling, sealing the concrete louvers, installing glass windows around the building, painting the concrete floor and placing carpets, constructing temporary offices within the facility and constructing additional toilets and storage for backup generators and air conditioning units.  It will also include solar panels on the roof and extensive landscaping around the facility among improvement works.

The renovation includes restoring back all the wooden flooring, bleachers and other sporting structures after the conference.

Minister Baklai Temengil-Chilton stated that once the conference is finished, the national gym, to be called the National Hall of Palau during the 2020 Our Oceans Conference, will serve as a main facility for hosting sporting events as well as other major events.  It will be a facility that Palau can very proud to showcase and host events in, she added.

Ambassador Wallace Chow, ROC-Taiwan’s ambassador to Palau, said that Taiwan is very proud to partner with Palau on such project.  “We’ve been waiting for this for too long and now we finally have this ground-breaking ceremony,” stated Ambassador Chow.

Despite the daunting task and very limited time to get the project completed, Ambassador Chow expressed high confidence that not only will the project be completed in time, it will be of the highest quality.  This confidence he said stems from the fact that the contractor, Fu Tsu Construction Co. Ltd., of Taiwan is the one of Taiwan’s best construction company.  The company has a track record in Palau, having constructed the 160-room Palau Royal Resort in only 16 months.

Ambassador Chow echoed President Remengesau’s 2020 call to his ministers to get to work and “get things done”.  By working together with our developing partner, we will definitely get thing’s done,” stated Ambassador Chow of the preparation work for OOC 2020.

Attending the ground-breaking ceremony with Palau’s leadership were Fu Tsu Chairman Cliff Lin accompanied by Mr. Harrison Shao, Deputy General Manager and Ms. Zoe Hung, Legal Department of Fu Tsu Construction Company Ltd.

Government changed its previous plans to use a tent city to host Our Oceans 2020 Conference to making permanent improvements to existing facilities for use of the conference.  Renovation work will also include improvements to Palau Community College facilities for use during the conference for side events. (L.N. Reklai)