IF YOU THINK THAT a lot of money is being wasted in Port Moresby on white elephant venues for the Pacific Games circus then prepare yourself for much more expenditure of an unsustainable nature.
Because in 2018 Papua New Guinea is the designated host for the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum] gathering and Port Moresby will need to accommodate 3,000 delegates with the highest levels of security and amenity.
The Presidents of the USA and China, the Sultan of Brunei and many other significant heads of state, CEOs, economic advisers, and the world's media will converge on Port Moresby and all will need to be accommodated within multiple venues and facilities for their forum activities.
Can this intensive and specialised accommodation be provided sensibly and with a sustainable legacy for the people of PNG?
Well, yes in theory.
But are there any strategic thinkers in the PNG government and bureaucracy who are able to undertake this massive and intensively focussed exercise without succumbing to the trap of expending public money on developing extravagant venues of grandeur, in inappropriate locations, that will have little meaning and purpose for the people of PNG when the APEC circus has moved on?
Rather than develop an extravagant convention centre and massive hotel complex out over the water at Ela Beach - as has been proposed in a recent design competition conducted by the NCDC - the organisers of APEC 2018 PNG should be looking to develop a conference venue that has a sustainable purpose associated with a revitalised harbour precinct.
And rather than build thousands of more hotel rooms that will have no chance of sustainable economic utilisation post-APEC, the strategy should be to accommodate the majority of member country delegates (at their own expense) in chartered cruise ships, moored in Fairfax Harbour, which can then depart at the conclusion of the event.
There needs to be serious discussion and strategic planning around the APEC 2018 event or else the costs associated with it will far exceed the expenditure on venues for the Pacific Games.