The Samoa Government yesterday officially opened another auspicious landmark in the heart of the city of Apia.
The Matagialalua Friendship Park is one of many exciting developments, borne out of the vision of the Apia Waterfront Development Project and Plan, launched in 2016 said Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa during her speech.
A key objective of the Waterfront Plan was to enhance the remaining public spaces along the Mulinuu to Taumeasina waterfront, for community enjoyment, and to offer a diversity of commercial opportunities.
“The goal has been to create a safe environment and modern space that connects people and places, and which will allow our people and families, visitors from abroad and tourists to relax in natural surroundings, and enjoy leisure and recreation in a safe, culturally friendly and favourable atmosphere.
“This Park embodies the aspirations of the Waterfront Plan. It is also a fitting event that is an integral part of the program of the commemorative celebrations for Samoa’s 60th Independence anniversary.”
She said Friendship Park captures the principles of good urban design in its layout and the new infrastructure incorporates unique features of our culture which blend well with the natural environment.
Friendship Park has six main areas, a lawn Amphitheatre that provides the main stage with surrounding tiered seating and a ‘malae’ or arena.
“Public shows and entertainment will be the focus of this element of the Park. A Children’s playground area providing a dedicated safe space for children to enjoy play-equipment and space for bike riding and roller-skating.
“A mangrove Tidal Garden and Timber Boardwalk remoulded from the then existing pond, an Open Sports Court area with two multi-sports courts, for the public to use for training and fun activities.
“Also, three Fales have also been provided with space for small cafeterias, a shop and bathroom amenities; and linking all these areas together are large Open fields with tree-gardens where people can relax in the natural surroundings, as well as host temporary markets and stalls.
“Your Excellency Ambassador Xiaoliang, this project would not have been possible without the generous financial assistance and support of the Government of the Peoples Republic of China in partnership with the Municipality of Huizhou City of the Guangdong Province.”
Fiame said that in 2018, a Framework Agreement was signed between our two Governments to bring this project to life.
“The Friendship Park was designed in collaboration between Huizhou city and the Apia Waterfront Project team. The name reflects the warm and cordial relations and friendship enjoyed by our two governments for over 46 years now.
The Friendship Park project has not escaped the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic causing inevitable delays.
“This said, I am pleased however that despite the challenges, the launch of the Friendship Park has fit in well with the re-opening of our international borders and our 60th Independence celebrations.
“The Friendship Park has complemented well what the Waterfront Project had begun and will continue to work in, in the near future in the improvement of Apia’s public spaces.
“I understand that discussions are already underway for the launch of the recently completed Arts & Culture Centre at Malifa the second project funded through the unique partnership with Huizhou City and I look forward to its opening in due course.”
Fiame on behalf of the Government and the People of Samoa, extended to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, and the Huizhou Municipality our sincere appreciation of the generous assistance and ongoing support which has allowed us to witness this development of immense creativity, and an asset for the enjoyment of our people and tourists now and in the years to come.