ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi said a mega-road network project to cater for the development of the San Fernando Waterfront and Skinner Park will begin in November.
He said the project, funded by the government, will see Lady Hailes Avenue upgraded into a four-lane dual carriageway from Todds Street, between Skinner Park and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) to Queens Street extension at King’s Wharf.
This is all part of the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment project. The scope of work will entail constructing a roundabout at Connection Drive (the entrance to Roodal Cemetery), improving the Gulf View Link Road intersection, extending Rushworth Street to connect to Lady Hailes Avenue and constructing a pedestrian overpass near Circle Drive (Embacadere).
The plan was rolled out by the Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency Unit (PURE), a project management unit of the Ministry of Works, during the first of two mandatory public consultations to obtain a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC).
Construction and design manager II Saran Robinson said there will be benefits, including improvement to traffic congestion, the aesthetics of the environment, improved road network connectivity for future development and upgrades to existing drainage when the network becomes operational.
In the interim, she cautioned, there will be some negative impacts, such as the relocation of residents, environmental pollution during construction, disruption of sea bathing and traffic congestion.
At the first consultation at City Auditorium, San Fernando on Tuesday last week, representatives from two churches and the Girl Guides Association questioned the effect the project would have on their respective properties.
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church the Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan asked how the waterfront project, which is catering for almost 800 houses at two different sites, as well as commercial interests, could affect the Presbyterian Synod, St Andrew's Theological College and Naparima College, which sits just above the planned development.
Girl Guides manager, south, Marilyn Barker-Duncan and Jacqueline Dolly, chief commissioner TT, also had similar concerns about their headquarters at Embacadere, as did a representative from the Revival Times Assembly Church on King’s Wharf.
Al-Rawi, MP for San Fernando West, where the development is planned, said their buildings will not be touched.
“The Girl Guides, Court Shamrock, the Synod, St Andrew's, Naparima College – none of these buildings will be impacted negatively. They are very much impacted positively, because their land value begins to skyrocket.”
He said the plan was well thought out to minimise any glitches such as land acquisition.
He said to cater for the waterfront development – which includes the fishing port, Plaza San Carlos, the removal of the PTSC bus yard to make way for housing position, developing the hospital car park, the Anglican Church development and a new magistrates' court at Irving Park – the road network is essential to take care of the volume of users about to come in.
"This is big news for San Fernando," he said.