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Ministry of Housing & Lands

Speeches of Hon Mohammed Asraf Ally Dulull, Minister of Housing & Lands
Speech of Ex Minister M.Choonee: Review of NPDP
Review of the National Physical Development Plan Workshop
Held at Les Cocotiers Hotel on 2 December 2002
Keynote Address byM. Choonee
Ex Minister of Housing & Lands
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here to address you to-day.
I' ll like to congratulate the people of Rodrigues on their new status within the Republic and look forward to close collaboration with the Rodrigues Regional Assembly.
The coming into operation of the new political framework, will no doubt assist in speedier decision making, producing accelerated development and prosperity. The people of Rodrigues are known for their hard work and dedication. The Government is committed to nurture further, the economic and social progress of this island, within the decentralized framework.
It is a great opportunity that a Draft Physical Development Strategy is ready at this particular period when the new Regional Assembly has been mandated. Planning the use of land vitally affects the development of a nation.
Rodrigues is undergoing since the last few months a pace of development that it has never known before-the extension of the runway, development of schools, social facilities, housing etc. The on-going development at Plaine Corail is opening up international and regional links. Furthermore, with the larger ATR 72 aircraft serving the island, and with the interest of developing further the tourism industry, Rodrigues is poised to witness significant developments, including the Port Mathurin Waterfront and Tourism projects, over the next twenty years.
In response to these challenges here and in Mauritius, the Government, through the Ministry of Environment EIP 2 Programme, has commissioned a review of the 1994 National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) both for Mauritius and Rodrigues in order to provide a sound basis for development planning over the next 20 years. Halcrow Group Ltd was appointed in mid April by the Ministry of Housing and Lands to carry out the review. The team of Consultants has already visited Rodrigues in May and met a number of people here from all sectors, M.P's, Public officers, NGO's and other Forces Vives.
The main objectives of the study for Rodrigues will be to :
provide strategic advice to Rodrigues Assembly on the efficient provision of transport and utility infrastructure.
facilitate development opportunities for investors, both local and international
promote sustainable development which conserves high quality agricultural land and sensitive environmental areas.
propose the institutional and implementation changes needed to support follow- through actions, including the updating of the Outline Scheme prepared for Rodrigues in October 2001.
Rodrigues has a mountainous topography. One of the greatest challenges to land use planning in Rodrigues is to prevent the continued scattered development and cluster them, so as to reduce the costs of providing expensive infrastructure and services and minimise the impact of future development on the exquisite Rodriguan natural environment and landscape.
The new development strategy for Rodrigues is aimed at supporting, managing and facilitating land use changes, particularly in employment generating activities by identifying key settlement clusters and growth zones in the countryside and on the coast where strategic developments should be guided.
The focus of the new Development Strategy is, therefore, based on how best to manage and adjust the release of land and sites for future growth, whilst recognising that some Rodriguans still like the dispersed lifestyle. In striving for a better quality of life and in order to achieve a more efficient provision of Government services, future development and housing schemes will need to move towards a more clustered form of growth.
What is the plan's vision for Rodrigues? It is one which focuses on :
"Encouraging economic growth in the town, the countryside and the coast, whilst maintaining and enhancing the quality of the environment and striving for a more sustainable pattern of development which captures the special essence that is Rodrigues".
Key aims of a sustainable future for the development of Rodrigues will include:
Stimulation of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment
Effective protection of the environment and prudent use of natural resources
Social progress which recognises the needs of all Rodriguans
It is projected that the population of Rodrigues will increase from 36,000 to 44,000 in 2020. New housing, social and community facilities, as well as increased public transport and infrastructural services have to be planned for and programmed for implementation to meet future needs. Preparing the new Development Strategy will not itself make things happen. The new Strategy will include recommendations for appropriate institutional and legal set up and mechanism to speed up the processing of development applications, the release of land and infrastructure implementation.
This implementation mechanism is the second biggest challenge Rodrigues will have to address. For successful implementation, such a mechanism will need to have full support of a wide range of Government agencies, private sector stakeholders and the Rodrigues community.
We are very happy that at the start of your new mandate, this Draft Document is available as a working tool to guide the Regional Assembly to make your island what you want it to be. We want you to respond to the Draft Plan and suggest the changes you want. Remember it is your plan. I hope that, following your deliberations, you will keep the essence of Rodrigues and let Rodrigues continue to be what you want it to be: stress-free, peaceful and simple, all the qualities that many modern societies have lost.
With these words, I thank you all for your interest and participation. I believe that with the collaboration of one and all, Rodrigues can have a wonderful future.
Thank you.
Message of Ex Minister of Housing and Lands-Mr. G. P. Lesjongard
This website provides a general view of the activities undertaken by my Ministry. As its name suggests, the activities of the Ministry are geared towards the formulation and implementation of a housing policy for Mauritius and the management of State Lands for residential and industrial purposes. Our policy is based on a flexible approach to integrate the planning and use of our Lands to meet the ever changing challenges of a fast developing globalised economy.The National Physical Development Plan which is currently under review, will be called upon to play a fundamental role in the rapidly changing landscape of our country and in spearheading the diversified growth and development of our economy. One of its functions will also be directed towards the integration of land, economic and infrastructure planning. I invite the users and visitors of this site to convey any comments, views, suggestions they may have so as to help us improve on the services offered by the Ministry.
Thank you for visiting this website.
Ex Minister of Housing and Lands
Hon. P.R. Bérenger, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance,
Colleagues Ministers,
His Lordship the Mayor of Port-Louis,
Mayors and Chairman of District Councils,
Mr. John Smith, our Consultant for the National Development Strategy,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome all of you, this afternoon, for this launching ceremony of the National Development Strategy (NDS).
I must, at the very outset, thank Mr John Smith, our consultant, for his valuable contribution in the formulation of the NDS.
This is a time of radical change in the planning system. A new National Development Strategy has just been completed.
One of my first priorities when I took over the portfolio of Housing and Land Use Planning was to obtain government approval for the NDS plan. This plan sets the framework for land use development for the country for the next 20 years.
My next target now, is to bring about its implementation and an overhaul of the planning system so that it serves business and the community at large in a more efficient and productive manner.
An effective planning system is essential to deliver our objectives for living communities; for urban and rural regeneration; for improving the country's infrastructure; and for achieving truly sustainable development. In fact, without an effective planning system we risk constraining the economy, at a cost to everyone in Mauritius.
The National Development Strategy sets out the recommendations for transforming the planning system so that it is faster, fairer and more predictable and will contribute to the delivery of the Government objectives.
The planning system should:
Deliver in a sustainable way, key Government objectives such as housing, economic
development, transport infrastructure, urban and rural regeneration whilst protecting
the environment;
Create and sustain mixed and inclusive communities.
be transparent so that the right decisions are taken more quickly, with a set of rules
that everyone can understand.
We are making wide ranging, comprehensive changes to the planning system. In doing so, we will consolidate on the fundamentals of the planning system which have been built up over many years: the philosophy of the 'plan led' system applying the principles of good regulation-consistency, proportionality, targeting transparency and accountability; and promoting and facilitating effective public consultations.
We agree that the success of the package of reforms in delivering a step change in the operation of the planning system is dependent on proper resourcing. Under EIP2 several projects have already been approved, which will pave the way for institutional strengthening, planning practice and legal reforms.
The key themes of our reforms are:
setting out a clear understanding of what we are planning for;
making the system work better at national level by improving national planning policy;
speeding up the overall process for dealing with major development projects; and

improving the Government's own performance in processing and applications;
helping the system for plan making to work better at regional and local level;
encouraging high quality development; and improving the processes for dealing with
planning applications and planning appeals;
We are embarking on a comprehensive programme of change. We will be in due course making a series of further announcements about specific elements of the package. We will be developing a major programme of action, which is prioritised and scheduled.
We will be seeking the earliest possible opportunity to legislate where it is required. We will also bring forward new regulations and will develop a programme for revising and updating national policy guidance.
We want planning to rediscover its purpose, to be a strategic, proactive force for economic prosperity, social cohesion and environmental protection.
We want to concentrate national planning policy on the important policy issues that need to be resolved at national level and leave to regional or local level, those matters that can better be expressed at those levels.
We will be taking a range of measures to improve the way in which central Government performs its own role in the planning system.
Ladies and Gentleman: in a few minutes, Mr John Smith will detail for you the key recommendations of the National Development Strategy and the Action Programmes we intend to implement in the months to come.
We have set ourselves big targets, which we aim to attain by the end of this year.
I am confident that I can rely on your support to reach the objectives set. I trust all of you , stakeholders here in land development, will join me in helping to make these changes a reality.
I am sure that, when we look back in ten years time, we will realise that we made the right decisions.
Now, I would like to invite the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, to address you to lead the initiative and launch the National Development Strategy.
Thank you.