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AITUTAKI, Cook Islands (May 29, 2001 – Cook Islands News)---Work on the Pacific Resort in Aitutaki is well and truly under way.

But progress over the next few weeks will rely on finding skilled people in the construction industry right here in the Cooks.

"We have advertised locally for construction workers but (the) response to the advertisement has been slow," says Pacific Resort director Eden Hall.

"Four replies from Aitutaki and no replies so far from Rarotonga. We are looking for a team of around 25 workers so we hope the applications start coming in soon."

Hall says they have employed about six workers on site -- two of whom are Cook Islanders who have returned from New Zealand to work on the project.

Work is expected to be available for up to 18 months.

Hall says the old Rapae Hotel’s rooms have been refurbished as crew quarters, a site office established and the staff kitchen is operating. The sites for the reception lobby building and individual rooms have been cleared while the construction of a storage shed and workshop is under way.

"To date most of our work has been behind the scenes. Our working drawings are completed and we are finalizing engineering and infrastructure details required by the island council."

One of the features of the pool area, says Hall, will be a bar and restaurant designed as a shipwreck -- an old sailing ship that has run aground on the black rocks.

The Australian company responsible for designing the polar bear pool at SeaWorld and the complex at the Marriott Hotel in Surfer’s Paradise will design the Pacific Resort pool/bar. Hall added added that a genuine ship builder will be in charge of the shipwreck.

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands News Online.

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