|Minister: ‘Sando’ Waterfront shortly |
By CECILY ASSON Saturday, June 7 2014
AFTER more than 24 design plans from various administrations dating as far back to 1972 and numerous talk shops since then about the re-development of the city of San Fernando, the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development is now promising to deliver the long awaited billion dollar waterfront project.
At yet another consultation with stakeholders on Thursday at the auditorium of the San Fernando City Hall, San Fernando, Minister Bhoe Tewarie told reporters that all previous plans have been reviewed.
“As long as there is the will and desire, and I have the opportunity, we will make it happen in San Fernando,” Tewarie assured as he explained that among the successful projects under his ministry was the Chaguaramas boardwalk.
“This (San Fernando) is a very beautiful city with a waterfront with rolling hills,” he continued. “It has a long history, a good deal of traditions that are vital to its evolution but more than that, this can be a modern city”.
On Thursday night, there was a large turnout of stakeholders including the fishermen from Kings Wharf, San Fernando sitting in at the consultation.
Within the last eight months there have been several stakeholders consultations and even what was described by Tewarie as a “false start” to the project in 2012. A small portion of land was reclaimed along the sea front at Lady Hailes Avenue, San Fernando and a recreation area set up with large colourful umbrellas covering tables and chairs — the area however has since been vandalised. Tewarie believes that in an effort to get the project moving, things were done in a hurried manner. Tewarie said, “It is better to have a longer term plan and then you do it in phases, but if you go to try to do something too quickly and too hurriedly without the thinking through process, and especially if you don’t have buy in as to what is needed, you can have a problem.” He continued, “We started the project in 2012, but we had a false start. We have had eight months of consultation so far, and what we hope to do is quicken the pace of consultation and get the community to buy in on the immediate and medium term project.” Tewarie said the city of San Fernando can be rebuilt on two of its positives “art and culture” and also gives the opportunity to private and public sector to work together.
However, San Fernando West Member of Parliament Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan who was present at the consultation on Thursday, expressed her disappointment with the event saying that consultations for the same project had been completed since 2011.