UDECOTT’s senior project manager Terrence Beepath has said government's cancellation of the housing contract with a Chinese construction company will not have a negative impact on the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment Project.
Beepath said yesterday the 235 housing units proposed for construction on Lady Hailes Avenue, San Fernando were "never actually part of the hardcore waterfront development at all.
“That would not affect the waterfront. In fact, it may work out better, as we might be able to utilise the space.”
Beepath said Udecott has a different partnership arrangement for a residential/commercial development on the site where the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) garage now stands.
“It is called a mixed-use development, which is both commercial and residential.”
Udecott’s proposal says this development was identified by the Ministry of Planning and Development as one of a number of sub-projects to kickstart the waterfront project. It encompasses a high-rise building offering apartments, medium-income housing comprising two and three-bedroom units, commercial spaces for offices and retail, and spaces for restaurants and entertainment. It includes provision for parking.
The redevelopment, one of the largest regeneration projects in TT to date, aims to enhance the economic, social and cultural vitality of the city and its environs.
Last Thursday, the Prime Minister announced that the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) had stopped the $71.1 million contract with the Chinese construction company Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co Ltd (CGGC)
Rowley said the contract, to construct 5,000 housing units across the country, was reviewed and stopped because certain parts did not meet Cabinet’s acceptance and approval.
San Fernando was identified as one of the areas to benefit from at least 235 of the 5,000 housing units.
Beepath said those units were earmarked for the area now occupied by the Ministry of Works and not the PTSC compound, where the mixed-use development should start taking shape by the end of the year.
He said he is not certain if the HDC/CGGC project is totally off the table, but if it is, Udecott, which is the overall implementation agency, would have an opportunity to work out how the space can be best used.
PTSC is in the process of moving its garage from the waterfront to a site at Golconda, once occupied by bankrupt Brazilian company Construtora OAS, so that the high-rise construction can begin.
OAS was hired as the main contractor for work on the $7.2 billion San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway. The company was fired in 2016 by the Rowley administration and the government was successful in recovering approximately $1 billion through local and international courts for breach of contract.
The PTSC was given a September deadline to move out, but Beepath said the corporation “had some issues with tendering and payments so we pushed the deadline to the end of the year.
“PTSC is on track, about 90 per cent complete, so they should be able to move out totally by the end of the year,” he said.
President of the Greater San Fernando Chamber Kiran Singh said he views this project as the “new economic frontier” for the south
He said not only San Fernando, but the economy of the entire southern region will be given a boost, especially with the closure of state-owned oil company Petrotrin and Trinmar and loss of jobs in the industry.
Udecott is crafting a master plan for the project which will be done in phases. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2022 and will include the reclamation of 3.8 hectares of the shore at King’s Wharf to accommodate a hotel, harbour, a new water taxi terminal, and a dedicated area for Customs and Excise and the Coast Guard.
Beepath said Coastal Dynamics is continuing oceanic studies for submission to the EMA by next month and DravoSA (Van Oord) is engaged and has submitted a preliminary shape for the reclamation.