Last update: 05-Dec-2013 5:01 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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CABLE CARS FOR LAVENTILLE
The Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development led by Dr Bhoe Tewarie, through the assistance of the sustainable cities initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is planning to implement cable cars from Fort Picton, Laventille, to City Gate, Port-of-Spain. The T&T Guardian was informed that work has begun on the proposal with the assistance of urban design firm Dover Khol and Partners in Miami, a design team from Switzerland, along with other local designers. Tewarie made the announcement as he commissioned the opening of a newly-refurbished pavilion at Coconut Drive, Morvant, through the work of the East Port-of-Spain Development Company.
He said in an interview with the T&T Guardian, “Part of this (development of east Port-of-Spain) is an IDB supported project for not just east Port-of-Spain but the development of a sustainable city of Port-of-Spain. What we hope to do is rehabilitate Fort Picton,” he said. Tewarie highlighted the historical importance of Fort Picton saying Governor Picton fought the French and Spanish with a small garrison to hold on to the fort. He said not only does the ministry want to rehabilitate it, but also do something that will stimulate the imagination of people. “We want to put a cable car from Fort Picton to City Gate that will go up and down,” he said. Likening it to the Macqueripe zipline, he said just as the zipline has “stimulated the imagination” it is hoped that the cable car will do the same and create a tourist site. “That means engaging tourists at Fort Picton will so be able to develop at least part of the community in terms of tourist support, but also local tourist support and hopefully bring some peace to that particular area,” he said.
He said the IDB has agreed to the project and proposals will go to the IDB board, he estimated, late this year. The project, he said, may be able to start in early 2014. Tewarie, along with East Port-of-Spain Development Company managing director, Dr Deborah Thomas-Austin, East Port-of-Spain Development Company board member, Anthony Skeete, former national football player Nevick Denoon and other officials, commissioned the pavilion and part of a retaining wall at Red Hill, Laventille Road. The 700-foot wall was constructed at a cost of $5.4 million. Area development works were mandated by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as part of a larger initiative to fight crime following a spate of murders in the area. Tewarie, when asked if the company’s budget was going to be increased, said, “We will have to look at that seriously. Because I don’t like to think of the East Port-of-Spain Development Company as a company that is a crime-fighting tool.”
He said: “I like to think of it as a company that is dedicated to the development of resources, assets, projects that the community need. Most of the projects are asked for by the community and by employing the people and employing the contractors we are making a dent in negative activity and therefore in constructive activity.”
In an earlier interview, Thomas-Austin said completion of projects would depend on the budget the company receives. She said the projects can only be undertaken when there is a commitment to that level of funding. She said the funding the company receives does not allow them to undertake major projects. This fiscal year, she said, the company has requested a budget of $155 million. Last year the company was allocated $39 million. Tewarie said all of the company’s projects were brought in under budget or on budget. He said in the PSIP the company is allocated a small amount maybe $20 or $30 million but he said what can be done in the mid-term review is to look at how the company has progressed with the work and as long as the money “is being spent on constructive, value-adding projects then we can then reallocate some money.” Thomas-Austin also said another project being considered was the construction of an East Dry River Linear Park.
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