They have waited a long time, but Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby- Dolly on Tuesday promised residents of Bon Air Gardens South, that they will finally get their community centre.
She was delivering remarks at the sod-turning ceremony for the centre which is being built at Emperor Boulevard by Zion Construction and Services Limited at a cost of $10.4 million.
A sod-turning was held in 2010 but the contract was later reportedly cancelled. Gadsby-Dolly said Tuesday’s sod-turning ceremony was important because it was a footprint in the sand and puts pressure on the ministry and the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT), having made such a public declaration, to keep their promise and build the community centre on time and within budget. She said the government intends to complete the centre, adding that construction is ready to start and hoped that she would be able to return within a reasonable time to celebrate its opening. She added that the ministry will partner with the community to ensure that the centre is maintained. She said community centres are places where communities gather; where the ministry can deliver the skills courses which it offers and where the young and old can meet and transfer knowledge.
The new centre will provide a range of facilities including classrooms; a training kitchen to teach the culinary arts; a computer lab; an auditorium with seating for more than 200 persons and a dressing room for those involved in theatre arts. It will be fully accessible to persons in wheelchairs. Officials said some of the classrooms will provide for training in geriatric and childcare, observing that the Ministry of Community Development and all government ministries will be bringing their lifeskills training to the community through the community centre and the children who live in the community will have access to that training.
The contractor is currently mobilising on the site and construction is expected to take eleven months.