By Clint Chan Tack
With several projects to complete or start in the coming fiscal year, the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) is hopeful that Finance Minister Colm Imbert will provide it with an adequate allocation in the 2017/2018 Budget to do all of these works. Udecott chairman Noel Garcia expressed this optimism to Newsday following a sod turning ceremony for the Las Lomas #2 Community Centre yesterday.
Accepting there will be many entities that will be competing for funding for fiscal 2018 and the current economic circumstances, Garcia said Udecott would be grateful for whatever allocation it receives in the Budget. He identified the construction of new police stations in Roxborough and Old Grange in Tobago as well as new stations in Carenage and Matelot as some key national security projects Udecott has placed priority on for fiscal 2018.
He said Udecott wants to complete the Penal fire station and start construcion on a fire station in Arouca. Upgrade works at the Remand Yard in Golden Grove, Arouca is also high on Udecott's list in fiscal 2018. Last Thursday, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon announced Cabinet approved a sum of approximately $56 million to undertake those works. Garcia said Udecott wants to "continue and finish" new hospitals in Point Fortin and Arima. New health centres in Chaguanas and Diego Martin are also on the cards in the next fiscal year.
In terms of restoration, Garcia said Udecott expects to "complete works" on Whitehall and President's House in fiscal 2018. He also said the company hopes to begin preliminary work on the restoration of Mille Fleur in the next fiscal year as well. Garcia said Udecott is hoping to do upgrades at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts in San Fernando and the National Museum in Port-of-Spain.
"All in all, we look towards a very busy year for Udecott," he said. Garcia said in undertaking the various projects spread across its portfolio, Udecott has become, "much more efficient and much more cost conscious and cost effective." He described fiscal 2017 as "a successful year" for Udecott despite the tight fiscal constraints the country has to deal with. Garcia said examples of those successes can be seen in the completion of works at the Education Tower, Government Campus Plaza, Stollmeyer's Castle and three police stations. He also said work has begun on the administration complex in Tobago.