Infrastructure Cook Islands
On 10 July 2019, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) graduated the Cook Islands to the category of High Income Country, ending eligibility for Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) from 1 January 2020.
A booming tourism sector played a significant role in this growth but growth can also create significant pressure on public infrastructure.
Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) recognise the opportunities and efficiencies to be gained by moving from an unplanned, reactive approach to maintenance, toward a programmed planned approach, and have initiated a number of steps towards achieving this.
Managing the roading asset
Infrastructure Cook Islands has developed a toolkit for assessing the condition of the roads, and a road grading system is also being implemented. ICI has also begun the process of putting management controls in place to permit work in the road corridor. This will enable ICI to set conditions on both traffic management and reinstatement, as well as penalties for non-compliance. Other parties undertaking trenching work in the road corridor is a significant area of risk for ICI, as research shows that a trench dug through a road pavement (even when repaired properly) can reduce the life of the surrounding pavement by up to 30%.
Supporting workforce development is also part of the PacificTA programme with ICI. Under the programme, roading officials from ICI have had short term placements in the Far North.
Extending the lifespan of landfills
Compaction is a key theme for landfills throughout the Pacific as it becomes increasingly difficult to acquire new land for a landfill. A growing economy sector can strain landfill capacity so, with this in mind, PacificTA advisors worked with their ICI counterparts to complete an assessment of landfill capacity on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Their assessment concluded that Aituaki’s landfill was adequate but Rarotonga’s required careful management to extend its life for as long as possible. The assessment found that Rarotonga could achieve this through improving compaction rates and some small changes to operating procedures such as removing tyres from the landfill.
Because of these enhancements, the existing landfill could continue to meet growing demand beyond its original 2020 lifespan. Better management of the landfill asset would also mean Rarotonga could defer the need for capital expenditure for replacement waste disposal facilities for another 10 years.