COVID Safe Management Plans for the Tina River Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP) have been activated as a result of the recent community transmission outbreak plaguing the country. The plans, created in 2021 by Tina Hydro Limited (THL), Hyundai Engineering Company (HEC) are helping to guide leaders and officials who are working tirelessly to implement measures to protect the National Project during these uncertain times. The activated plan forms a part of the Community Health and Disease Vector Management Plan (CHDVMP) and is one of a series of Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMPs) that have been developed by the Project Company THL to manage environmental and social aspects of the Project.
With the pandemic spreading in communities, SIG are facing new challenges for both the country and its National Project. “While the situation is not ideal, it will be manageable thanks to months of meticulous planning and preparation,” says Deputy Project Manager, Fred Conning. “We need to think differently about how we move forward, adhere to the Government health advice in conjunction with the Projects COVID Management plans and when its time, ensure we move the Project forward while focussing on reducing the risk of COVID-19 for our employees and people in the host communities. We have planned for this day eventuating and thankfully, we are prepared.”
The lenders for the Tina River Hydropower Development Project and other international organisations, have issued several guidance notes and recommended best practice advisory notes to inform construction contractors and developers regarding the COVID-19 response. THL’s EPC Contractor HEC have been proactively preparing by attending COVID 19 workshops held by the Guadalcanal Provincial Government and voluntarily listing themselves in the COVID 19 Working Committee for GP Zone 6. HEC also facilitated the community awareness and response programs held by the GP Health Department to understand reasonable expectations of communities from the Project.
SIG’s Project Office staff have continued to work since the first lockdown in Honiara with all critical staff moving to online and virtual platforms within days. Technology implemented allowing people to work remotely has ensured the Project continues to tick over during restrictions. While work on some aspects of Community Benefit Sharing Projects (CBSP), such as the Water Supply and Network Extension Line have stopped temporarily due to the community transmission, the next step in the implementation plan will be to support contractors and local supplies safety recommence work when advised.
While the Tina River Hydropower Project stakeholders work through these challenges, the health and well-being of the community and Project employees are at the forefront of every step forward in the coming months. With ever-changing circumstances and dealing with a risk that is new to the Project on the brink of construction, the COVID Management Plans and their implementation will be closely monitored.